Forum: Race Officers

Safety Inspections in the SI's

Peter Clapp
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Race Officer In Training
  • Judge In Training
We are about to have a RC meeting to discuss the appropriateness of wording in our SI's regarding Random Safety Inspections. The current version of our document includes these two paragraphs.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT: All competing sloops and race support vessels shall be suitably equipped with the required US Coast Guard safety equipment, as well as a RADAR reflector and at least one functioning VHF radio capable of transmitting and receiving on the assigned working VHF channel as announced by the RC. 
RANDOM SAFETY INSPECTIONS: All participating sloops are subject to random dockside safety inspections. 

The topic of discussion is whether to drop the RSI paragraph for fear that, by having it, it may put some element of liability on our OA/RC if anything were to go wrong for a competitor. We might consider doing RSI's, but not stating it in the SI's.

I always get great responses when I ask for the opinions of this group.
Created: 22-Jun-07 03:17

Comments

P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
Peter, first question  that came to my mind was “What sort of event is the OA hosting and in what sort of water?”

Also, are you trying to address an issue that’s come up in the past?  Did you have an incident with a participant where they did not have a min safety equipment and things went south?
Created: 22-Jun-07 03:31
David Allsebrook
Nationality: Canada
0
If you say "random" you have no authority to inspect a boat for a reason, e.g., which you have reason to believe is unsafe.
Created: 22-Jun-07 03:33
Matt Bounds
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • National Judge
  • National Race Officer
0
I would replace "sloops" with "boats."  It's the terminology in the rules and would exempt any other type of sail plan from the requirement.

With that out of the way, what kind of event is this?  Offshore, near shore, protested waters, dinghy?

How are you going to determine random selection?  You had best figure that out before the event starts or I could claim that I was chosen non-randomly for inspection and invalidate the instruction.

I tend to agree that putting any onus on the OA / RC / PC for inspections will pull you into the liability circle, but in reality, everyone will be sued if something goes bad (at least in the USA).  A waiver is just a speed bump on the way to court.

On the other hand, the Bayview-Mac race has done "random" safety inspections for many years when the boats first dock on Mackinac Island and I'm not aware of any consequences of doing that (although several boats have been given penalties for non-compliance).

If you do plan to do it, I would suggest making the penalty for a breach of this instruction at the discretion of the PC. 
Created: 22-Jun-07 03:38
P
Angelo Guarino
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
  • Fleet Measurer
0
FWIW in the J105 class we have a very specific list of min safety equipment that each boat must have.  This list is part of our CR’s and every boat is inspected for these items before our yearly North America Championship. This past October, I and an assistant inspected 35 boats in 1-1/2 days.  This was possible because our list is very specific

Our NA’s are inshore or near-shore and given we are a OD class, safety issues which relate to build and seaworthiness of the boat construction and design are common and a given. 

For instance, here is our list …

USCG safety items
  1. 3 flares (not expired)
  2. foghorn
  3. USCG approved life jackets for entire crew (on board at time of inspection)
  4. two fire extinguishers
  5. 1st aid kit
  6. 1 bucket
  7. 2 flashlights (batteries installed and working)
  8. Basic nav gear (e.g., chart book, ruler, dividers, tide book & rulebook)
  9. Tool kit
  10. Handheld or installed VHF and GPS
  11. Radar reflector
  12. Emergency tiller (if wheel boat)
  13. Fuel tank in standard location, with gauge reading at least 1/2
  14. 1 standard – sized battery in standard location (for interior layout of the boat)
  15. Lifesling, "man-overboard module" or horseshoe life ring (shall be on stern rail and not interfere with the operation of the swimming ladder)
  16. Standard companionway boards 
  17. Boat hook
  18. 2 dock lines and 2 fenders 
  19. Bosun's chair

Any other equipment required by the Class Rules (including equipment and other items required by rules

When talking about boats of different design and construction, I would leverage US Sailing’s SERs found here.

https://www.ussailing.org/competition/offshore/safety-information/ser-world-sailing-special-regulations/

If you list specific items you are going to check (like the 105’s do), it should be in the context of referencing the appropriate SER for your type of racing. 

You don’t want your NOR list of items to accidentally superseded the SER’s. 
Created: 22-Jun-07 04:10
Kett Cummins
Nationality: United States of America
0
We add the following: "These inspections are made for rules compliance purposes only; the RC will not assess nor warrant the safety or seaworthiness of yachts or crews."

But as Matt said, this is just a speed bump if things turn ugly!
Created: 22-Jun-07 04:13
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
0
If you are listing equipment not already required by rule, then that, and the inspection notice, must go in the NOR, not the SI.
And the randomness must be provable.
Created: 22-Jun-07 06:02
Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
0
I don't think you can go far wrong in leveraging Coast Guard, World Sailing or MNA safety equipment requirements. I expect it's when you start freelancing that you open yourself (further) to charges that you either overspecified or underspecified requirements.

As to inspections, maybe say "discretionary" rather than "random". RC reserves the right to inspect any boat for any reason. Maybe you inspect top finishers and spot check a few others. 

The point is to discourage competitors from fudging on safety requirements for either cost or weight reasons, yes?
Created: 22-Jun-07 06:32
Peter Clapp
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Race Officer In Training
  • Judge In Training
0
Thank you all for your insights and observations on this broad topic. I am new to this particular RC and OA, so am hesitant to share details about them until I have a better feel for their openness.

That said, I will be much better prepared for our Zoom meeting tonight and will share this thread as a pre-read so that they too will be better informed about how to approach our specific needs.

As always, I am smarter for having solicited your thoughts.
Created: 22-Jun-07 12:39
Tim Hohmann
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Regional Judge
0
One further thought - you may want to consider whether you want safety equipment compliance to be protestable by a boat or not.
Created: 22-Jun-07 13:11
Mark Townsend
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • International Race Officer
  • International Umpire
  • International Judge
0
Depending upon if it is one design class or handicap racing, how far you are sailing from shore, or if competitors will be racing between sunset and sunrise, consider the following. However, keep it simple.
 
1) If it is a one design racing use the class specified safety equipment. If it is a handicap racing use the US Sailing Safety Equipment Requirements (SER), outside the US use World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations (OSR). https://www.ussailing.org/competition/offshore/safety-information/ser-world-sailing-special-regulations/

NoR 1 RULES
NoR 1.x The U.S. Safety Equipment Requirements for [Nearshore] [Coastal] [Offshore] races available at https://www.ussailing.org/competition/offshore/safety-information/ser-world-sailing-special-regulations/ applies.
 
2) Use the wording from the World Sailing Notice of Race Guide Appendix KG.
https://site-isaf.soticcloud.net/raceofficials/internationalraceofficer/document_library.php

NoR X EQUIPMENT INSPECTION
NoR x.x Boats may be inspected at any time. 


Created: 22-Jun-07 14:15
David Giddings
Nationality: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Certifications:
  • Regional Race Officer
1
Boats entering races run by the UK Solo Offshore Racing Club have to sign a declaration containing the following clause:

I agree to be bound by RRS, RYA Prescriptions, SORC Notice of Race, General Conditions and Sailing Instructions, World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations (OSR) and other applicable rules. In particular I understand the OSR categories for the races in which I am competing, as set out in the Notice of Race. The boat will be made available for inspection at SORC’s request but I accept that any inspection that may take place will not in any way reduce my responsibilities set out above.

Obviously you would need to change some of the wording, but you get the drift.

Dave
Created: 22-Jun-08 18:42
Philip Hubbell
Nationality: United States of America
Certifications:
  • Club Race Officer
  • Judge In Training
1
...any inspection or failure to inspect,,,
Created: 22-Jun-08 19:04
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