Technical Tips: Cat 3 safety inspection


Yachting New Zealand have helped put together a guide to the category 3 safety inspection, as a basic overview for participants preparing for the PIC Coastal Classic.

The tips below don't cover 100% of the things that are required for the inspection; we simply hope that you'll find the tips below useful for clarity on aspects of preparation for thee category 3 safety inspection.

We hope that this will especially provide some help to boat owners who are new to the safety certificate process. In no particular order of importance:

  • Make sure that you have a copy of the Safety Regulations of Sailing 2017 – 2020 & ensure that you are familiar with them. They can be purchased from the Yachting New Zealand website, Boat Books at Westhaven or a local chandler. Or, they can be down loaded free online here

  • A copy of the Inspectors check list can be found online here

  • Prepare early & take your time to work through your boat

  • Check the linkages on the steering gear to ensure that they are tight & ensure that the emergency steering gear is fit for purpose & that you have practiced with it.

  • Hatches must be fit for purpose & able to be secured. Broken or missing fastenings must be rectified

  • Windows – water tight, secure & not cracked

  • Fittings – winch mounts deck gear etc – water tight & secure

  • Pushpit & Pulpit – strong, secure & the minimum height. Open transoms to have tight life lines in place.

  • Stanchions – strong, securely mounted & straight. Carbon is NOT acceptable.

  • Lifelines – refer to the regulations for the correct sizes for your vessel. Must be tight, fittings secured & in serviceable condition. Encapsulated wire must have the plastic stripped.

  • Jacklines – adequate strength (refer Safety Regulations) & properly fitted for your vessel (tight & run so that crew can access the deck unencumbered. Large cockpits should have a separate jackline).

  • Navigation lights – ensure that the nav lights are working & that they are correctly configured for your vessel.

  • Life ring – ensure that it is marked with the vessel name & sail number. Light is working, floats correctly & is attached to the life ring. The drogue & whistle functional. Mounting on the push pit allows for easy launching & that the crew are familiar with the procedure. A documented man overboard procedure that the crew are familiar & have practiced is strongly encouraged. Retrieving a person in good conditions is difficult enough let alone in the dark with a sea running.

  • Inflatable life ring (if you have one) – please ensure that you have the service certificates available for the Inspector. Crew must be familiar with its use as part of the man over board procedure.

  • Approved dinghy – if you are racing with 4 crew the dinghy must be certified for 4. Certification can usually be found on a plate on the transom.

  • Life raft – in service & stored in a place where it can be at the rail within 15 seconds. Please ensure that you have the service certificate available to sight.

  • Standing & running rigging – checked & nothing obviously wrong.

  • Mast/s & booms – checked & nothing obviously wrong. Pay particular attention to the goose neck. Heel (base) of mast to be bolted onto the mast step.

  • Sails – in serviceable condition. A heavy weather jib is required in addition to a furling headsail. The main needs to be able to be reefed easily.

  • Companionway – wash boards with lanyards attached, sliding hatch that can’t come right out. Access must be available from above & below when the companionway is closed.

  • Compass, depth sounder, log – functional

  • Gas bottle locker – separate from the cabin & draining outside the boat.

  • Buckets – 4 strong buckets (paint pails or the like), lanyards & the boat name & sail number visible.

  • Bilge Pump – manual, able to be operated on deck with the companionway closed, lanyard on handle, strum box (filter) on the pick up & draining over the side. Suggest pumping a bucket of water periodically to ensure that it is still working as the components do perish.

  • Knife – strong sharp knife on deck

  • Heaving line – floating heaving line on the push pit ready to be deployed.

  • Chain plates – no visible signs of failure including staining from fastenings

  • Seacocks with plugs – correctly sized wooden plugs to be on lanyards attached to the seacocks

  • Heavy items – all heavy items to be secured. Spare anchor, batteries etc. Be mindful of small heavy items such as bottles coming loose in the case of a knock down.

  • Stove – secure in its mounting

  • Safety sign – to remind people to turn gas off at the bottle.

  • Fire blanket – suggest storing it away from the stove so that it can be accessed in the event of a fire in the galley or to be used as a shield to exit the cabin.

  • Charts – adequate charts & plotting equipment for the trip.

  • GPS & spare – know how to use it & have spare batteries if required.

  • EPIRB – ensure that it is in date & that you have the beacon registration certificate available for the Inspector to sight.

  • VHF Radios – ensure that you have your radio operators certificate & call sign available. The Inspector will ask you to do a test on both radios so please ensure that they are working & that you are familiar with their operation. More than one crew member should be competent & hold the necessary certification.

  • Flashlights – suggest that every crew member has their own with spare batteries plus a larger flashlight for the boat.

  • Lifejackets – name, crotch strap & light. Please ensure that you have the service certificates available for the Inspector to sight. Very few life jackets have a self service option therefore the majority require an annual service by the agent.

  • Bosuns Chair (or climbing harness) - in good condition

  • Fire extinguishers – in service (yellow tag)

  • Tools – particular to your boat. The ability to do basic things to the engine such as change a fuel filter & impellor so in addition to spanner, sockets, screw drivers a filter wrench & impellor puller are recommended.

  • Ability to cut the rig free – a choice of hack saw & blades, bolt cutters, hammer & drift, battery powered angle grinder with cutting wheel. Dependant upon the requirements for the particular vessel.

  • First aid kit & manual – please ensure that you have the required kit on board.

  • Grab bag – the EPIRB, hand held VHF, spare GPS, flares, mobile phones, keys, wallets & anything else that would be very inconvenient to lose should be in the grab bag in addition to the items listed in the Regulations.

  • Flares – there are only 4 flares required (2 red hand & 2 orange smoke) for the grab bag. The life rafts have a sizeable flare pack. Suggest putting a leather glove in the flare container.

  • Engine – ensure that this is clean & tidy. Belts should be tight & there shouldn’t be any visible signs of leaks or broken equipment. Fuel tank must have a shut off valve. Spare filters, belts & impellor & the ability to change them.

  • Crew training – be able to demonstrate that basic procedures such as man overboard, reefing, starting & operating the engine, fire-fighting, abandoning ship, anchoring etc have been practiced. Ideally these will be documented.

To book a safety inspection, or for further questions on the safety certification process, visit the Yachting New Zealand Website or phone (09) 361 1471 - Ask for Angus Willison, Yachting New Zealand's Safety and Technical Officer.


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