It all depends on how you look at it. The Govt. Here we have laws to ensure businesses, services and activities keep people safe. In the US, you sue so as Businesses, services and activities keep people safe. The end result is just the same.
average boatie up to $20.000 to kit there boat out for cat 1.
If it is going to cost NZ$20K, then your boat was not ready to go off shore anyway. The question I would have to ask is, would you consider going out into the Southern Ocean for short trips without a life raft, GPS
, EPIRB, medical
kit, flares, safety lines, lifejackets, wet weather
gear and so on?? Every requirement Cat1 asks for are quite frankly, necessary for anyone just going across the straight, let alone off shore.
What happens if you get caught offshore and you don't have this cat 1
It is not a case of "getting caught" out sailing without the required gear. In fact, the USCG are more legalistic in requirements, such as "are your bilges clean".
To lave any country, you have to meet all the requirements of customs for clearance. This applies in NZ just as any other country. To leave NZ and I mean by "leaving" that you are going to another country, you have to get customs clearance. At this point you have to meet the safety requirements before you can gain that clearance.
Does this Cat 1 assure that the skipper has any knowledge
Yes to a point. The crew must be able to either demonstrate they have a reasonable knowledge of handling a boat and navigating. This "demonstration" is usually carried out by the way the skipper/crew answer questions as the inspector goes about his survey
of the vessel. But there is no "test" as such.
It has to be remembered that NZ is a small country. We only have 4million people. We have the largest ocean area of any country in the world that we have to take care of. Apart from Oz being 1200Kms to our left, we have nothing but a few dots for islands for thousands of miles to our right, above and below. Getting lost
out there is not a simple call home and have someone come out for a tow. We have are surrounded by ocean that is amongst the worst in the world. What makes it so bad is the fact we have no major land masses between us an the Antarctic. There is no land masses around the Antarctic, so weather
systems just come one after the other in a steady march. As a small nation, we simply do not have the resources to go out there and rescue
someone. But we do. So we try and keep that happening as much as we can.
My wife is in the RNZAF. We have a grand total of 4 Herc's, 4 Orion's, all of them are old and falling apart. Most of the time only 2 of each are serviceable aircraft. That means flying. The others are usually being repaired. We don't have long range helicopters and there is one civilian chopper called upon for long range rescue
duties. The US Ronald Ragen has more crew on board than our entire NZ defence force has in staff.
Once you venture out there, you are pretty much on your own. If something goes wrong, you have to be able to deal with it yourself. Rescue is a long way away, even if you were able to raise help via EPIRB. If no one know's your out there, your stuffed. Like a the few that have vanished without trace.