The biggest problem new sailors have is that once on the water, they can get quite disoriented. This could result in sailing the board backwards (back of the board pointing forward), stalling, to getting carried by the current, or finding themselves even underneath the dock or stuck on the rocks to the east.
So, please, before going out, each and every time, make a note to yourself of the following:
1. Four main points of concern (the "Box") - Docks to the west, boat traffic off shore, underwater rocks to east, and submerged pilings in front of boat launch at low tide
2. While sailing know points of visual reference - Docks, West Van, Royal Van Yacht Club, flags on Jericho Sailing Centre (flags help with wind direction)
The wind should be blowing onto the back of your head when sailing, if not, move until it is, find new reference point and sail on again. Wind direction does continuously change. If you slow down, first thing, re-assess the wind direction and carry onward. Watch other sailors to see which direction they are sailing in relation to wind and simply copy them.
All Level 1 sailors are required to stay in the designated "Jericho Learner Area". Note the orange buoys that are placed right in front of the beach - it is a designated training zone. Stay in that zone which extends from the western docks to the rocks just at the east end of the beach. Also, try staying close to the shore, as a lengthy self-rescue paddle back can be exhausting. We strongly advise you to practice your steering, tacks or gybes over and over close to shore until you can easily return back to the place where you started. Why waste an hour struggling to get back into shore when you can be spending that hour practicing your skills? Note: the wind speed by the sailing centre could be lower than those just out from shore, as the docks often act as a wind block (e.g. when the wind meter at Jericho Sailing Centre says 10 knots, the wind speed out past the docks could be 14 knots).
If you are a proficient windsurfer you are expected to abide by the sailing right-of-way rules. These rules determine right-of-way between wind-powered, motorized, and self-propelled vessels. Remember to be aware and considerate.
If you are a beginner windsurfer (Level 1), you are expected to stay within the designated "Jericho Learner Area". Other types of vessels, like sailboats, proficient windsurfers, rescue boats, lesson boats, kayaks, rowboats, may pass through the Learner Area. They will generally be more stable and maneuverable than a beginner windsurfer. If you can steer out of their way, you should do so -- but if you can't, it's acceptable to simply drop your sail, stand there (make yourself visible) and let them manoeuvre around you. If the other vessel is unable to change direction and neither can you, then self-rescue yourself out of its way: dump the windsurf rig and like a surfer, swim away! You must do what it takes to avoid a collision. Remember to be aware and considerate.
Please note that once you go outside the Jericho Learner Area, you will be expected to abide by the sailing right of way rules.
There are many more right of way rules which you should research and study on your own. Remember, windsurfing is sailing -- sailors of windsurfing equipment follow the same right-of-way rules as all other sailors.