Safety on the Water

You should be aware of the Instructions that Apply to all craft launching from Grafham Water Sailing Club, whether they are racing or not. Key points from this document are summarized below:

  • Before launching, please note and observe any sailing restrictions in force: these are indicated by the following flag signals, displayed from the waterfront flag poles:
Green Green Flag Normal sailing areas
Yellow Yellow Flag Restricted sailing – Area 1 only
Red/White Red-White Flag Experienced sailors only – restricted to Area 1. For guidance, you are considered ”experienced’ if, in the prevailing conditions, you can (unaided) right your boat and return to the club’s shore.
Red Red Flag Water closed – no sailing allowed
Blue / Green Blue-Green Flag Blue-green algae present: wear suitable protection and wash after sailing
Blue / White Blue-White Flag Experienced windsurfers only – water closed to dinghies, catamarans and keelboats. For guidance, you are considered ”experienced’ if, in the prevailing conditions, you can waterstart your rig and return to the club’s shore.
Black Black Flag Compulsory wearing of wet / dry suits


  • The map indicates the location and extent of Area 1. This is the area of the lake that is visible to the Coxswains. It is the only area normally permitted for sailing during the week. You may download here a printable (A4) version of the map.


  • Wet or dry suits must be worn whilst sailing during the period 1st November to 31st March and outside this period when the water temperature is less than 5 degrees C. When this requirement applies, a black flag is displayed.
  • When sailing, please be vigilant at all times, and be prepared to assist others in difficulties when this does not endanger yourself or your crews. You must  take any necessary action to avoid close contact and collisions with other craft. Failure to comply may result in exclusion from club sailing.
  • Members and visitors sailing must comply with requests and advice from safety boats – e.g. when it is judged necessary to be taken aboard a safety boat. The first priority of a safety boat is to rescue and return to the club premises sailors judged to be in danger, whether injured, sick, exhausted or cold. Craft will be retrieved and returned to the club when, and if, practicable. Other boats must keep clear of a safety boat in close attendance to a craft or competitor in difficulty.