Offshore Yachting : August September 2008
Special Feature EPIRBs and PLBs for the upcoming season right now. If a yacht’s equipment becomes obsolete during the next racing season, its Audit certificate may lapse. There may also be delay with AMSA registering a new unit due to a rush of applications. 406 MHz EPIRBs must be registered with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) with the boat’s details. As from July 1 2009 when the new YA Special Regulations come into operation each unit must have the AMSA registration tag attached to it. As the Yachting Association of NSW website says, lending your registered unit to another boat is a no-no as, if activated, the rescue authorities will be searching for the wrong vessel as 406s transmit a boat specific data burst when activated. They same changes apply to what used to be called ‘Personal EPIRBs’ – when they transmitted on 121.5 MHz. As this frequency is about to become obsolete, the unit is now correctly referred to as a Personal Locator Beacon, or PLB. As with a boat EPIRB, all PLBs must now be 406 compatible and must be registered with AMSA in the name of the owner. Also, as from July 1 2009, under YA Special Regulations, each unit must have attached its AMSA registration tag. You can register on-line at the AMSA website. VHF Masthead aerials When Offshore Yachting went to press, a number of clubs, including the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, were seeking dispensation from Yachting Australia’s controversial ruling that as from July 31, 2008 masthead VHF aerials will be mandatory on yachts with a masthead 11 metres above the water. While acknowledging the better transmission and reception from a masthead aerial, critics have pointed out a number of problems for racing yachts, including the cost of cabling and removing a mast to have it fitted, the heavier weight of masts as a result and even possible changes to IRC ratings. Yachting NSW’s Special Regulations Committee supported it being a ‘recommendation’ that masthead VHF aerials be masthead fitted. Yachting Australia, however, (presumably at its May 2008 board meeting), went against the recommendation of its own National Safety Committee and has made masthead aerials mandatory. The YNSW Special Regulations Committee was due to consider the impact of the amendment to the regulation at its July meeting and also consider the requests from clubs for dispensation, particularly in the light of the forthcoming Audi Sydney Gold Coast Race. Personal Floatation Devices Yachting NSW’s Special Regulations Committee also suggests that yacht owners keep a close eye on standards for Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) to save unnecessary expense in re-equipping their boats. 42 | offshore In New South Wales from July 1 2008, it became mandatory for all vessels 11 metres and longer to be fitted with a new 406 MHz digital distress beacon, also known as an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) when operating offshore. At the same time, Yachting Australia (YA) has introduced a controversial rule requiring yachts to fit masthead VHF aerials The current Australian Standards are under review and a draft standard is under discussion. The new standard, to be known as AS4758, will replace current standards AS1512, 1499 and 2260. Under the new standard, PFDs will no longer be referred to as ‘Types’, eg, Type 1 or 2 etc, but will be classified by ‘Levels’. The Levels will be basically in accordance with international standards related to the buoyancy characteristics. These are designated by ‘N’, eg, 150N. The Levels proposed in the standard are: Level 275 – Offshore where the person is carrying significant body weight or equipment or clothing Level 150 – General offshore and rough weather Level 100 – Sheltered waters where rescue is expected Level 50 – For competent swimmers close to shore with rescue facilities close at hand. Yachting NSW suggests that if you intend to purchase PFDs or plan to re-equip, you should give consideration to the proposed standards change and also to Yachting Australia’s requirements, as certain PFDs will become obsolete for yacht racing. YA, as from July 1 2009, will require all new PFDs for use in category 1 to 4 races to be branded to level 150 or above. As from July 1 2011, all PFDs carried in category 1 to 4 races must be branded to level 150 or above. International Standards such as EN 396 are acceptable provided they are branded to 150N or higher.
June July 2008
October November 2008