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Old 26-01-2008, 19:35   #1
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US off shore sailing regulations

As I have not sailed around the US I am not sure of what your off shore requirements are???, In NZ you need cat 1 to take your boat off shore and that will cost the average boatie up to $20.000 to kit there boat out for cat 1.

What is needed in the US for going off shore ???
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Old 26-01-2008, 20:08   #2
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There are only the customs and immigration requirements for non-US citizens in US waters.

Otherwise you could go blue water in a pool toy or bath tub.

As long as your blood alcohol level is below 0.8 ppm.
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Old 26-01-2008, 20:21   #3
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What is needed in the US for going off shore ???
You only need to meet the USCG requirements for when you are not off shore. They don't go looking for trouble unless it is of an ilegal nature. If you have the stuff required when they ask you are good to go. It would be hard to imagine anyone going off shore without these things but i suppose you might. Some requirements are by length but unless you are commercial it's not a big list and most items are cheap. The rest relate to environmental items such as sewage, oil and trash.
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Old 26-01-2008, 20:27   #4
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Note that the requirement that pblais mentions are for vessels of a certain size.

e.g. you don't need a waste management plan for a kayak, but there's nothing preventing you from paddling one over the horizon.

the requirements, as pblais mentions, are more things like flares, life jackets, safety gear, waste management plan, no oil overboard placard, etc. based on the vessel size, not where you're intending to go.

Also there's no certification program - you just might be stopped for a "safety inspection"
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Old 26-01-2008, 20:31   #5
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By the way. You can do a virtual USCG Auxiliary inspection here:
National Department of Vessel Safety Checks

this is the extent of what's required in the US.
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Old 26-01-2008, 21:07   #6
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I think you would be amazed at what us Kiwi's have to go through to go off shore
You need everthing from epirb to current life raft VHF and SSB radios 3 GPS's you must have a sextant on board with tables grab bags at the ready, trough bag with rope attached and the list go's on even keel bolts must have been replaced in the past five years.
When I went to the Pacific Islands it cost me just over 30.000 to come up to cat 1
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Old 26-01-2008, 21:17   #7
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Originally Posted by KIWI View Post
I think you would be amazed at what us Kiwi's have to go through to go off shore. You need everthing from epirb to current life raft VHF and SSB radios 3 GPS's you must have a sextant on board with tables grab bags at the ready, trough bag with rope attached and the list go's on even keel bolts must have been replaced in the past five years.
That's insane. I don't mean it's insane to have a seaworthy boat with safety equipment. I mean it's insane that a government can make you do all that just to sail offshore. What happens if you get caught offshore and you don't have this cat 1 thing? Also, I'm guessing that New Zealand authorities could only board and inspect your boat for this if you are within NZ territorial waters?
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Old 26-01-2008, 21:23   #8
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The USCG does have a catch all phrase available to them. I believe that it is deliberately vague, and that is "manifestly unsafe voyage".

Termination of Use

No specific laws, but recommendations:

Vessels Operating Offshore


There could be different regulations for foreign vessels. I didn't find anything with a quick look at the CFRs.

Links to CFRs at the bottom of the page:
Federal Regulations

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Old 26-01-2008, 21:45   #9
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A few years ago the NZ customs stopped a foreign boat from leaving because it did not come up to NZ reg's to go off shore, In away I agree, Because in this particular case because the was rescued once when it tried to leave, His only safety equipment was a epirb, He had no radio ,one hand held GPS ,no life raft And that type of sailer is the type that gets most of us a bad name.
So for me cat 1 cost's a lot but it's worth it, There a lot of novices out there that take off with no sailing experience and most times ill equipped at least CAT 1 makes sure they have saftey gear
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Old 26-01-2008, 21:55   #10
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New Zealand government does seem to suffer from P.L. (Premature Legislation).

I remember in Nov 99, arriving in Auckland (Americas Cup Village) with one of the larger super yachts and being told by Immigration that all the crew had to apply for work visas. This was unprecedented by any other country but was told that all the other yachts had entered that way.

To make a long story short, a hastily convened meeting with all the other Captains to discuss a number of draconian issues, was where I reminded them this practice would ultimately allow the NZ tax department to legally audit not only the crew but the yacht owner’s accounts.

A strong petition was signed by all letting the Government know that this was illegal to force paid crew on a foreign registered vessel to register as workers and we would all individually make the decision whether to stay. (we were preparing to leave).

A further meeting with Tax and Immigration on the ministerial level convinced them that our crew did not work or reside on New Zealand land and they reversed the order changing the status of crew on a yacht to tourist visas (as is the case in all other countries).

I have recently heard via the grapevine that they have again re-enacted that rule. If true, it will keep a lot of super yachts and their investing owners away from New Zealand. Stupid move if true!
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Old 26-01-2008, 22:12   #11
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Does this Cat 1 assure that the skipper has any knowledge? You still have to know how to use a sextant to get a fix. No sextant I have ever seen reads out Lat and Long. Knowledge is still your most important piece of safety gear.
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Old 26-01-2008, 22:24   #12
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IS the Govt. in New Zealand really this draconian? Is freedom in New Zealand dead and the Nanny state supreme?

My wife and I have done a fair bit of reading about NZ including serious discussion about an extended visit and possibly even immigration. NZ seems to have so much going for it. But one of the things that we would prefer to leave behind in the US is
the nanny state phenomenon and culture of entitlement coupled to dependency.

If NZ is heading down the big Govt. "trade your liberties for perceived safety" route as well then we can drop the concept of possible immigration. And if NZ is going to hold us there if we decide to visit and try to force us to spend stupid amounts of money there in order to get some baloney "certification" before we are allowed to leave then we will pass on the extortion thank you very much.

The world is surely becoming a very small place. Are there any places on this planet left where Govt. is not all powerful and the people so terrified of the unknown that they lay down willingly to trade their freedom for some concept of being kept "safe"?

It is really depressing to hear this about NZ. Maybe I had it all wrong in my perceptions before but I pegged NZ as a place where people still valued freedom as something more than just a word politicians sold them to make them feel better while getting raped.


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Old 26-01-2008, 23:49   #13
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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.
Quote:
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.
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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.
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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.
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Old 27-01-2008, 00:13   #14
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[quote=David M;129231]Does this Cat 1 assure that the skipper has any knowledge? You still have to know how to use a sextant to get a fix. No sextant I have ever seen reads out Lat and Long. Knowledge is still your most important piece of safety gear.[/quote

Yes, The skipper must show that he is competent to go off shore, I think it because the location of NZ , We are a long way from anywhere so the NZ maritime view is that the skipper and or crew must have some level of competency , This is all part of CAT1
You would be amazed at the amount of yachts that are rescued each year due to lack of prep.And I am talking about foreign boats

As for the sextant I agree that is stupid, when I left for the Pacific I had a sextant and a book on celestial navigation by starpath, I did there complete course on line when I returned to NZ

I see now most places over seas they want to see VHF license and some sort of competency certificate and I think thats good
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Old 27-01-2008, 00:15   #15
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Cat 1 is a PIA especially as it is only valid for leaving NZ as no other country recognizes it. Also once you arrive in Tonga, Fiji, New Caledonia etc it is only considered as a cat 2 status by NZ authorities. You can leave NZ and sail around the world without stopping anywhere and technically you wouldn't have to have cat one. That being said everyone I know that is considering going offshore takes their safety seriously so many of the requirements are met automatically. 3 GPS's required but they don't check your battery supply, Medical kit inc. morphine, syringes, and various precursor drugs that could be used for making P = potential customs problem. It is also reccommended that you have a pregnancy kit as well, I will have to find a younger crew to risk having to need it!!. Now a fast boat can make Fiji in 6 to 8 days a slow one may take 12 to 18 days, the slowest I know of took just short of 6 weeks and ended up in Tonga and not Fiji as intended, they had passed cat 1 with all new gear but had total battery failure so no radio, no engine, they also had unspecified sail difficulties as well, by the time they were getting close to Fiji they started to doubt their navigation (celestial) and switched on the RDF (battery operated)on getting a bearing on the air beacon in Fiji they set sail but unfortunately they sailed on the back bearing ending up in Tonga, literally asking where are we. So cat 1 did nothing for them. This was 25+years ago they have since done two circumnavigations 4 trans Atlantics sailed around Japan and the UK, now they are in their 70's they have swallowed the anchor and moved ashore.
In their case when they left they had a new RFD life raft fully certified etc. When time came to open it up for service it alledgedly didnt work, the gas cylinder worked but the tubes didn't inflate, they were found to have a faulty glue line, RFD apparently admitted that there had been a faulty batch of rafts put on the market but they didn't attempt to contact any of the purchasers but relied/hoped that that batch would get to the 1st service without being used, Criminal! you decide. I know Smackwater Jack dissapeared around that time and wondered if they had a RFD raft on board.
Is NZ a nanny state, not yet but they are trying hard.Also don't forget that the safety industry has a vested interest in all of this the more they can push it the more they can sell etc.
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