In 2015 the RYA launched 'A Voluntary Code of Practice for Watersports in the Superyacht Industry'. This was put together to ensure the well-being of the industry and for all those who participate in the wide array of watersports activities offered onboard yachts these days. The code is voluntary and there is currently no legal requirement to adhere to it. There is no charge involved and there is no inspection process or validation.
The intention of the code is to provide Superyacht Captains and crew with a set of guiding principles to assist them in developing their own on board safety management guidelines for watersports. The code is not intended to provide all the answers, but rather to assist captains and crew in knowing what questions to ask when determining how watersports activities will be managed on board the vessel. "It's about assisting you in what you need to think about when setting up your own procedures" and it is important to note that the code "is not a one-size-fits-all solution".
The advice provided in the code of practice takes into account various factors, including understanding the needs and experience of the group participating, how to run different watersports concurrently, having dedicated lookout points onboard, the number of supervisors and environmental hazards. Should things go wrong, being prepared is essential to ensuring a positive outcome. Key to this is an effective safety briefing for all those involved with the activity - supervisors, bridge crew and participating guests.
A key section addressed in the code is on guest alcohol consumption and the use of toys. We all know it cannot always be possible to limit the consumption of guests on-board, but forward planning can limit the dangers to them partaking in watersports. "By scheduling on-water activities for earlier in the day or around times where guests are less likely to have been drinking, you will be enhancing their safety while not being seen to be impinging on their fun" the code advises.
The code gives helpful advice specific to various sports including dinghy sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, towing inflatable toys, kite boarding, canoeing, and parascending.
The code is packed full of useful advice and the PYA highly recommends that you download a free copy and use it!