Yachting NSW Special Regulations Questions and Answers
MAY 2008 - Life Rafts
Special Regulations question:
I am looking to purchase a Life Raft for my yacht (38 ft). My preference is for a 10 man but I am concerned about purchasing as I understand the rules are changing with regards the compliance of these Life rafts.
If I was to purchase an old 10 man raft (say 2-3 yrs old) and had it reserviced would this be compliant with the current and new Cat 2 requirements. It is very hard to buy a new 10 man as most of the manufacturers are only making 6 and 8 man Life rafts.
Answer (technical clarification):
The current Special Regulations have another 12 months to run and will be applicable for the 2008-2009 Sailing Season.
There are some changes flagged for the new Regulations which will commence from the 1st July 2009.
So any decision taken now concerning a life raft should consider what the new Regulations are likely to require.
Appendix A of the current Regulations is applicable now and until 30th June 2009.
All liferafts purchased after 1st July 2006 and all carried on board after 1st July 2009 must(shall) be constructed in accordance with ISAF Regulations Appendix A, except for equipment in the raft.
The ISAF Appendix can be accessed through www.isaf.org/tools/documents/OSR2008_Complete-.pdf
The equipment required for Australia is set out in YA Special Regulations Appendix A paragraph 2.0.
Note rafts to USL Coastal design cannot be used in category 2 after 1st July 2009.
The proposed new Special Regulations, which are yet to be approved by the Board of YA, will if adopted in the form of the current draft continue the above requirements.
Except that grandfathering of 'old' rafts has been extended from 07/2009 to 07/2013.
In addition to the ISAF specifications the new Regulations will, as the current ISAF Regulations have, provide ISO 9650 Part 1 I Group A as an alternative construction standard.
The equipment to be carried on the raft will be replaced in the new Australian regulations by an 'Australian' list which will be set out in the Appendix. That list will be the same as the equipment list in the current Appendix A 2.0.
Ensure that the raft supplier will be able to certify the standard to which the raft is constructed on the annual inspection certificate.
In laymans terms, your raft supplier/service agent will understand the above regulations and specifications needed. Provide them with the relevant provisions of the regulations when considering a purchase or annual service, and they will be able to inform you as to your raft's status in regards to conforming to the above standards. A special note should be taken of the grandfathering clause before purchasing a new raft.
Firstly two questions on Personal Locator Beacons.
The Blue book and the Waterways Regulations were written before the advent of PLB's [Personal Locating Beacon]and refer only to EPIRB's. Are PLB and EPIRB only ' marketing ' terms that have no defined meaning.
AND a further question
To my knowledge there are no Personal EPIRB's available on the Australian market and many if not all competitors are using PLB's in the mistaken belief that the units are EPIRB's. Is a PLB and EPIRB?
The Committee answered:
AMSA advises that’ the previous 121.5MHz PLBs were built to the same standard as EPIRBS but with one exception related to flotation. Now that there is a greater difference between a 406 MHz EPIRB and a 406MHz PLB, AMSA is attempting to move people away from the term 'Personal EPIRB'. There is no such item as a personal EPIRB in the 406 MHz band.
A change of wording will be adopted in the 2009 regulations and the units will be referred to as Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs).
Note PLBs cannot be substituted for EPIRBS.
‘Mae West’ PFDs
Special Regulations question:
An Auditor for a cat 2 race has refused to accept USL Coastal and SOLAS internationally recognised PFDs. Was the Auditor correct and are those types acceptable for yacht racing under SR 5.01.1 and 5.01.2?
The Committee explained:
The interpretation of the Auditor was correct as the PFDs illustrated are not of the 'vest' type which Special Regulation 5.01.1 requires.
The Chairman of YA NSC has also confirmed the Auditor's interpretation as correct.
Even though the PFDs illustrated are internationally recognized by the USL Code and SOLAS, and are of a more stringent standard than AS 1512 as they are 'over the head ' types they are considered as 'mae west' type which are primarily for use in abandoning ship.
YNSW understands that the 'vest' type is prescribed for yacht racing in offshore categories 1 to 4, by Yachting Australia, in preference to other types due to recommendations from the Coroner's Inquest into deaths arising from the 1998 Sydney Hobart Race.
The vest type was reported to the Coroner to have less problems when used in helicopter rescues. YNSW also believes that type will encourage greater wearing of the vest type PFD and at the same time permit the crew to perform the functions of sailing the yacht without the restrictions which over the head or ‘mae west’ design PFDs would otherwise cause.
The restriction on the acceptability of the 'mae west' type in preference to the 'vest type', first appeared as from 1st July 2001 in the Special Regulations 2001-2004.
There is no difference between a ‘lifejacket’ and a ‘PFD’. The term PFD is preferred as it does not give a misrepresentation that wearing a jacket will save life.
Further evidence has come to light that that type of PFD when used in helicopter sling rescues places pressure on the carotid artery leading to unconsciousness in the patient during the lift.
Oh, why ‘Mae West’? Well she was an amply endowed actress in the 1940s. RAF pilots slang name for the life jackets was, ‘Mae west’ as the jacket was a very busty item.