In sailing, the boom comes across the boat during tacks and jibes and has potential to impact a participant’s head and cause injury. To our knowledge, there are no sailing specific helmets on the market in the United States. To determine the effectiveness of a wakeboarding helmet to mitigate the risk of head injury, we measured the boom angular velocity on a 24-foot keel sailboat during controlled jibes. The boom motion was recreated in a laboratory setting and positioned to contact the occiput of the instrumented head of a Hybrid III 50th percentile male anthropometric testing device (ATD). Tests were conducted with an unhelmeted ATD and with an ATD wearing a wakeboarding helmet. Boom angular velocities and head accelerations for unhelmeted impacts were highly correlated (R2 = 0.996). The watersports helmet reduced head accelerations by 52 ± 4% when compared to accelerations from unhelmeted impacts.

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