SAFETY CHANGES FOR BOATS
Maritime NZ is making changes to safety requirements for recreational vessels leaving New Zealand ports for overseas, and for other recreational vessels in local waters. These changes follow recommendations outlined in a detailed, 60-page report into a fatal accident in which two crew members of the 19.78m yacht Platino died in June 2016. The accident occurred 305 nautical miles NNE of Cape Reinga in high winds and confused seas.
Platino turned unexpectedly and dramatically to starboard. The turn was most likely caused by a combination of weather and sea conditions, and a malfunction of the autopilot.
The investigation concluded the accident was caused by a combination of many factors, among them that the crew, all experienced sailors, had not trained together for emergencies, and were not sufficiently familiar with the vessel’s equipment.
Within seconds the yacht had gone from sailing comfortably to being significantly damaged and effectively out of control. The boom was swinging uncontrollably across the yacht and hardware connected to it was described by the crew as acting like a wrecking ball.
Almost immediately one crew member was fatally injured when he was hit by hardware connected to the boom, and another was lost overboard, most likely thrown by the boom.
The three crew who survived the accident were rescued by a container ship.
Maritime NZ Director, Keith Manch, says work is already underway with Yachting NZ to change the Safety Regulations of Sailing used for all recreational vessels – sailing or powered – bound for overseas. Maritime NZ requires all such vessels to obtain a Category 1 safety certificate before leaving New Zealand.
“We will also be working with Yachting NZ and other boating organisations about a range of technical requirements for vessels’ equipment, and particularly about training for skippers and crew, and vessel operating manuals,” says Manch.
“While the changes relate to a range of equipment and procedures, at their heart is the preparedness and training of the skipper and crew. Skipper and crew must be familiar with the equipment on board, know how to use it correctly, and know how to respond in an emergency.”
Maritime NZ has made 28 recommendations under seven headings: