Safety & Audit (Yachts)

Yacht Safety

Yacht Incident Management Plan

This plan applies to all incidents where: there is an injury requiring immediate medical attention; any vessel is significantly damaged; or there is a danger of these occurring and assistance is required. This includes collisions, running aground, man overboard and onboard injury.

Yacht incident Managment Plan

Special Regulations Annual Yacht Safety Equipment Inspections (Audits)

Note: 2024 changes to procedure marked in *

Please read this page, top to bottom. Everything you need to know to properly prepare for an audit is here.

If you still have any questions, ask an auditor BEFORE your audit

On this page you can find:

  • Do I need an inspection?

  • Audit dates and times.

  • How to book an audit.

  • Audit fees.

  • Links to all documents required for a successful audit.

  • How to prepare for an audit - including special notes covering: extinguishers; PFDs; Dutch doors and keyed locks for companionways; *HMPE lifelines (eg Dyneema).

  • Common mistakes that cause an audit to fail.
  • What to do on your audit day.

  • About the auditors.


*ASC Sailing Instructions require all yachts participating in ASC races to have a current Category 7 compliance (or better). Completed forms must be uploaded to SailSys with each series entered.

Compliance forms expire after 12 months.

Yachts must also comply with the Maritime N.S.W Authority Safety Equipment Regulations.


Audits to be completed within these times.

29th June 09:00-13:00

13th July 09:00-13:00


Bookings keep audit days efficient. Without a booking there is no guarantee an auditor will be available to audit your vessel.

Allow a half-hour on board for CAT 7; a full hour for CAT 5.

To make a booking, contact David Evans or 0438 224 926. When booking, please supply: boat name; person attending audit & their mobile number; category to be audited.


Audits for financial members, conducted during scheduled audit days or when an auditor would already be at the Club (eg a sailing day) are free.

If the auditor needs to make a special trip, the fee will be $50.

A second audit following a failed audit will attract a $50 fee.

Non-members (including non-financial members) will be charged the $50 for any audit regardless of whether they are successful or not.

All fees collected go to the Club.


You will require most (if not all) the documents below to complete a successful audit.

Click the links to view/ download.

Sailing Rules RRS 2021-2024 (The Blue Book)

Special Regulations (safety equipment guidelines 2021-2024) Amendments subsequent to the original publication are available here

ASC Sailing Instructions 2023-24

The documents above must be carried on board. Either hard copy or digital copy are acceptable BUT digital copies must be available on your device without the need for the internet.

Audit Forms (All Cats available at this link including 7 & 5) - NB: Audit forms are regularly amended, only the most recent iteration, available from this link, is acceptable.

*ASC Additional Equipment form: no longer required. Additional requirements such as VHF Radio, Navigation lights and Insurance are now covered by race/series entry criteria through SailSys.


Before the Audit Day

Conduct a SELF AUDIT. The auditor's role is NOT to do the audit from scratch, their role is to check you have done your own audit correctly.

How to perform your SELF AUDIT:

Print out the relevant AS Special Regulations Equipment Audit Form (eg CAT 7), then complete it aboard your boat. Do this prior to the date of your scheduled audit to give you time to add or replace anything outstanding or out-of-date on the list.

Initial, tick OR mark as N/A, EVERY line. If you are unsure your item complies, read the full regulation - each item starts with the regulation number so you can look it up in the Special Regulations (Safety Equipment Guidelines 2021-2024). If you are still unsure, contact an auditor BEFORE your scheduled audit.

NB. Remember, just because it passed last year, doesn't guarantee the same item will pass this year: rules change; interpretations change; new precedents are set; and things quickly sneak past their use-by-dates.


VHF Radio Usage

Under the Radio Communications Act, ANYONE using a VHF must be licenced.

Special Regulations require all CAT 5 (and above) vessels to demonstrate that at least one member of the crew has a VHF licence. CAT 7 auditees may be asked to demonstrate knowledge of VHF usage.

If your VHF radio is handheld, it must:

  • be CHARGED for the audit (to demonstrate fitness for purpose)
  • have the VESSEL'S NAME permanently marked on it
  • have a lanyard (AS Special Regulation 4.16.1)

Fire Extinguishers

Extinguishers can be self-tested in accordance with the notes that follow AS Special Regulation 4.04 up to five years from manufacture. (Date of manufacture is stamped on the cylinder)

Australian Standard 1851-2012 mandates that all portable extinguishers be pressure-tested every 5 years. Extinguishers presented older than 5 years must be accompanied by proof of professional pressure-testing within the last 5 years (for smaller devices, it is cheaper to buy a new extinguisher.)

Even within the five years, extinguishers must be "fit for purpose", eg not rusty.

Lifejackets / PFDs

Regulation 5.01 A lifejacket must display the Australian Standard it was manufactured to. If the jacket is manufactured overseas, the owner must demonstrate that the overseas standard is equal to, or better than, the Australian Standard.

INFLATABLE PFDs must be serviced/tested to the specific manufacturer's instructions (usually annually). A CERTIFICATE must be provided for each PFD showing that its testing regime is up to date.

NB: Only some manufacturers allow self-testing and provide a (downloadable) blank certificate with a checklist; this form must be completed and include the signature of the person responsible for the inspection. Generic certificates or paperwork from other manufacturers, will not be accepted. If the manufacturer does not allow for self-testing, the jacket must have proof of professional servicing.

Australian Sailing Companionway Hatch Ruling (CAT 5 and above)

"Dutch doors" have been ruled non-compliant as blocking devices for companionways.

In the same ruling, access to the companionway using a key, has also been disallowed. The complete ruling can be found here (NB: the Feb 2020 ruling quotes the now-out-of-date regulation numbers, but compliance with the intent is still required.)

Spares (CAT 5 and above)

Regulation 4.15.1 requires spare parts on board. The minimum spares ASC auditors expect are:

  • fanbelt,
  • water pump impeller
  • fuel filter cartridge.

HMPE Lifelines (eg Dyneema).

While HWPE lifelines are now acceptable, (see amended regulation here) proof of professional installation will be required. If self-installed, a written declaration stating the installation is to the line manufacturer's standard, must be produced.


Incomplete Paperwork.

First Aid Kits

  • missing or out-of-date items. (Even bandaids and sunscreen have use-by dates.)
  • missing or incomplete contents list readable from the outside of the kit (so as to prevent the need to open the kit to know what it holds.)
  • non-waterproof container.

Inflatable PDFs

  • not serviced according to the manufacturer's specs.
  • evidence of service missing or not suppplied on PDF's manufacturer's certificate.

Navlights not working.


The owner/skipper or their authorised representative must be on board during the audit. .

Find a spare mooring off the Club. If tide and space allow, audits can be conducted alongside the pontoon. There will be no ASC tender service on audit dates. Check with your auditor to see if you will need to provide transport to your vessel.

Equipment required for the audit MUST BE LAID OUT BEFORE the audit to enable the schedule to run to time.

At the beginning of the audit, provide a signed and completed Australian Sailing Equipment Audit form demonstrating a self-audit has been completed.

*Providing Insurance documentation and Additional Equipment forms are no longer required. These items are now covered under SailSys entrance criteria.

ASC auditor verifies that your SELF AUDIT complies with the category you choose (eg CAT 7 or 5).

Upon satisfactorily completing the audit...

*The boat owner will receive a signed copy of the completed Cat form. It is up to the boat owner to provide this form to an event's organising authority and/or upload it to SailSys.

NB. If uploaded to the boat's record in SailSys, it will need to be provided separately for each series/race entered.


Owners must ensure continuous compliance in the Category for which they have been successfully audited. Equipment Auditors may undertake spot-checks during the season.

About the Auditors

Like all positions at Avalon Sailing Club, the Safety Equipment Auditors are volunteers. They give their time to be trained, certified and maintain their qualification by Australian Sailing. They organise and conduct free audits for the benefit of their fellow Club members. Please respect this time freely given.

Avalon Sailing Club and its auditors reserve the right to refuse an audit.

David Evans 0438 224 926

Ian Craig 0419 625 298

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