Offshore Yachting : Offshore Yachting Apr May 2015
T erry Wise, principal at the Pacific Sailing School, based at the CYCA, says safety has become top of mind for sailors at all levels. “Safety and the culture of sailing have changed a lot since the 1998 Sydney Hobart,” he says, referring to the most disastrous edition in the race’s history, with the loss of six lives and five yachts. A record 66 yachts retired from the race and 55 sailors had to be airlifted from their yachts. The rescue effort involved 35 military and civilian aircraft and 27 Royal Australian Navy vessels in what is Australia’s largest ever peacetime rescue operation. “The sea is not our environment,” continues Terry, who has been running Safety and Sea Survival courses since 1977. “It’s lovely when we’re setting out and the sun is shining, you feel the breeze, but for whatever reason, things turn very quickly. People ignore safety requirements altogether or don’t think about them until they need them. That’s a lot to do with ignorance – just not knowing what’s needed – and the assumption that they won’t have a problem. “Thankfully, it seems the message has got through. We all want to enjoy the sport in safety. Buying the necessary safety equipment is a small investment in the big picture.” Crews from various events, such as the Clipper Round the World Race and the Sydney Hobart, book in for the 16- hour (two day) ISAF Yachting Australia Safety and Sea Survival Course. “This course was developed by Yachting Australia to assist owners to understand their responsibilities, and help skippers and crew develop and practice strategies and procedures to prevent and address emergencies at sea,” explains Terry. “It is mandatory for 5 percent of crew in Category 1 Offshore Races and is highly recommended for sailors in Category 2 events. Bluewater cruisers will also benefit greatly from the training.” The course comprises both theory and practical assessment and upon completion, YA issues Certificates of Competence, valid for five years. Accredited crew will have their details added to the YA website database where owners and skippers can search names to validate crew eligibility. “It’s not just for racing sailors though,” adds Terry. “We have noticed that more cruising people are making the course a first priority, often with wives or partners so they’re all covered. At least one or two on each course powerboat owners, depending on the time of year. People fly in from all over the world to do the course. They complete the theory online and then come and do the practical.” Mums and dads looking to enter sailing are proving a boon for training courses. “Sailing is a great family pastime and whether they’re doing it for fun on the weekends, chartering a yacht or heading off around the world, families, particularly mums, tell us they’re very conscious about safety.” Another demographic heeding the safety message and embracing training with gusto is the “Grey Nomads.” “We receive a huge amount of enquiry from people in their mid- 50s and older wanting to retire and go sailing. The Grey Nomads have always wanted to explore Australia and go caravanning and sailing. Getting into sailing equates to knowing how their gear works and all the safety precautions.” Dealers too are coming onboard, gradually. “A few dealers refer their clients to us for safety courses, but we actively lobby yacht and powerboat brokers to offer our services as part of their packages. It makes sense.” The main focus of the course is practical training in new liferafts, lifejackets and other gear – how to use them, be familiar with them, and keep them current. “Otherwise it’s a case of if,” says Terry. “When you’re in a panic, you can’t be fiddling with reading instructions. You need to respond automatically.” LIFEJACKETS Going without a lifejacket can have serious consequences. Stats from boating authorities show that nine out of 10 people who drown while boating are not wearing a lifejacket. The rules governing the use of lifejackets on recreational vessels on all NSW navigable waters were strengthened from 1 November 2010. Lifejackets are a vital piece of safety equipment for all yachties, from dinghies and skiffs to ocean racing yachts and superyachts. Lifejacket law can vary depending on the type of vessel being used and from state to state. However, you must either carry or wear a lifejacket on board all registered vessels. It Safety on the water Should not be Seen aS an inconvenience or a dark cloud over a nice day out. aS the tagline remindS uS: “a lifejacket never ruined a day on the water” . i n fact, the truth iS quite the oppoSite. tragedy can be averted if our Safety gear, training and attitudeS are up to date. reportS Jeni Bone. PL AYING SAFe safety at sea 052 SAFETY FIRST Above: A raft deployment exercise – statistics from boating authorities show that nine out of 10 people who drown are not wearing a lifejacket. The views expressed in This arTicle do noT represenT The views of The cYca and do noT purporT To be oTher Than for general informaTion. no reliance should be placed upon The views expressed wiTh The arTicle.
Offshore Yachting Feb-Mar 2015
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