Polar Yacht Guide - for consultation


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Simon Currin
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Document for consultation - see below and attached

Dear Simon Currin, Commodore Ocean Cruising Club
Polar Yacht Guide

I would like to make you aware of recent developments in legislation and guidance concerning
yachts navigating in polar regions.

In recent years, there has been an increase in yachts visiting the polar regions. For example, there
have been more transits of the Northwest Passage in the last decade (193 transits between 2009
and 2019) than the previous ten decades since the first transit by Amundsen in 1906. Many of the
these transits were completed by yachts. The Antarctic and Southern Ocean has also become
increasingly attractive to adventurous sailors.

Most of these expeditions have been successfully completed by well prepared yachts with
competent crews. However there have been a number of exceptions which have resulted in
search and rescue operations and potential damage to the environment. This is a cause of
concern to search and rescue authorities with limited resources, environmentalists, and
politicians.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is responsible for the regulation of craft of all sizes
throughout the world, however it normally limits its legislation to commercial vessels. For the most
part, private yachts and boats are not subject to detailed or extensive regulation. This has
generally worked well, partly due to the efforts of organisations such as World Sailing (formerly
ISAF) and the RYA, who have long, and successfully, promoted the concept of ‘Educate not
Legislate. However some IMO delegations have proposed that the IMO Polar Code (1) Chapters 9
(Safety of Navigation) and 11 (Voyage Planning) should have the status of a mandatory instrument
for “all ships on all voyages”. On the face of it, the requirements of these Chapters are much
what you would expect for a well-prepared ship in polar waters, and those of Chapter 11 (Voyage
Planning) are similar to the specifications of SOLAS Chapter V (34) that already binds every vessel
in every voyage to the discipline of voyage planning. However, what concerns private yacht
sailors is what may be seen as the creeping extension of mandatory power, into a size and type of
vessel hitherto outside the scope of international shipping regulation.

A voluntary code, ‘Polar Yacht Guide’ (PYG) has been drafted by a number of experienced high
latitude sailors (2) . PYG is in three parts: Part A addresses general issues concerning safety of
navigation and voyage planning in both polar regions. It covers the same subjects as the IMO
Polar Code chapters 9 and 11 but is written for smaller vessels. Part B gives specific guidance for
yachts navigating in the Arctic. Part C is largely a reproduction of existing safety and
environmental advice for yachts produced by the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat (ATS).

The Polar Yacht Guide is being sponsored by World Sailing who are represented on the IMO
working group considering this issue. World Sailing is proposing that education, in the form of
specific yacht guidance, is likely to be more effective than legislation.

Attached is a copy of the draft PYG. We would like to consult extensively with high latitude sailors
and relevant maritime authorities before publishing it. I would be most grateful if you could
distribute this explanation and the draft PYG to interested members of your organisation. A list of
the organisations being consulted is printed below (3). If you are aware of another organisation
which you think should be on the list, please do let me know. I would be grateful if one person
from your organisation could collate any comments and send them back to me by 5th August
2020.

With many thanks.

Yours sincerely,
Victor Wejer
Attachments
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Simon Currin - 7/27/2020
Document for consultation - see below and attached

Dear Simon Currin, Commodore Ocean Cruising Club
Polar Yacht Guide

I would like to make you aware of recent developments in legislation and guidance concerning
yachts navigating in polar regions.

In recent years, there has been an increase in yachts visiting the polar regions. For example, there
have been more transits of the Northwest Passage in the last decade (193 transits between 2009
and 2019) than the previous ten decades since the first transit by Amundsen in 1906. Many of the
these transits were completed by yachts. The Antarctic and Southern Ocean has also become
increasingly attractive to adventurous sailors.

Most of these expeditions have been successfully completed by well prepared yachts with
competent crews. However there have been a number of exceptions which have resulted in
search and rescue operations and potential damage to the environment. This is a cause of
concern to search and rescue authorities with limited resources, environmentalists, and
politicians.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is responsible for the regulation of craft of all sizes
throughout the world, however it normally limits its legislation to commercial vessels. For the most
part, private yachts and boats are not subject to detailed or extensive regulation. This has
generally worked well, partly due to the efforts of organisations such as World Sailing (formerly
ISAF) and the RYA, who have long, and successfully, promoted the concept of ‘Educate not
Legislate. However some IMO delegations have proposed that the IMO Polar Code (1) Chapters 9
(Safety of Navigation) and 11 (Voyage Planning) should have the status of a mandatory instrument
for “all ships on all voyages”. On the face of it, the requirements of these Chapters are much
what you would expect for a well-prepared ship in polar waters, and those of Chapter 11 (Voyage
Planning) are similar to the specifications of SOLAS Chapter V (34) that already binds every vessel
in every voyage to the discipline of voyage planning. However, what concerns private yacht
sailors is what may be seen as the creeping extension of mandatory power, into a size and type of
vessel hitherto outside the scope of international shipping regulation.

A voluntary code, ‘Polar Yacht Guide’ (PYG) has been drafted by a number of experienced high
latitude sailors (2) . PYG is in three parts: Part A addresses general issues concerning safety of
navigation and voyage planning in both polar regions. It covers the same subjects as the IMO
Polar Code chapters 9 and 11 but is written for smaller vessels. Part B gives specific guidance for
yachts navigating in the Arctic. Part C is largely a reproduction of existing safety and
environmental advice for yachts produced by the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat (ATS).

The Polar Yacht Guide is being sponsored by World Sailing who are represented on the IMO
working group considering this issue. World Sailing is proposing that education, in the form of
specific yacht guidance, is likely to be more effective than legislation.

Attached is a copy of the draft PYG. We would like to consult extensively with high latitude sailors
and relevant maritime authorities before publishing it. I would be most grateful if you could
distribute this explanation and the draft PYG to interested members of your organisation. A list of
the organisations being consulted is printed below (3). If you are aware of another organisation
which you think should be on the list, please do let me know. I would be grateful if one person
from your organisation could collate any comments and send them back to me by 5th August
2020.

With many thanks.

Yours sincerely,
Victor Wejer

Hi Simon and all,
I have followed some of the work of the Polar Yacht Guide participants and their suggestions and believe their work to be important for recreational sailors well beyond those who choose to venture in the higher latitudes.
In sheer numbers, sailing to the higher lats is on the increase (as has sailing/cruising overall), but is still a very small percentage of the total recreational cruising miles. The PYG reports most vessels are well prepared and manned with competent crew and who carry their cruising goals to a successful completion. However, the PYG’s work is, in part, stimulated by the number of exceptions to those vessels that are well prepared and with competent crew: those that have needed SAR assistance and whose difficulties have threatened the environment. (This variance is also reflected in the broader cruising community.)
Now, any vessel venturing anywhere, day sailing to expedition cruising, may encounter bad luck in any of its various manifestations and need assistance. That said, at some point, reasonable sailors can look at a boat’s preparation and the skipper/crew experience and be clear that their plans are not wise: that they are inviting disaster to be planning to “go out there and do that”.
The PYG, as I understand it, wishes to generate a guide for recreational polar expeditions as a way of educating those intending to sail Polar waters (and thereby making less likely ill prepared vessels and crew.) An alternative is to (possibly) have the commercial shipping regulatory agency, The International Maritime Organization, extend their purview into the recreational area.
However, the PYG work reflects a wider concern that I have written about: that there are too many ill prepared vessels and crews going to sea. A SAR call-out, even in the best of times, always entails some possibility of accident and injury to crew, not to mention expense. And the best of times is rarely when there is a call-out. It seems predictable, over time, that some SAR crew member will endure a serious injury or death trying to assist a vessel that, upon later examination, should in no way have been “out there” in the first place. This scenario, tragic for the crew, is problematic for us recreational sailors as it invites what the PYG describes so accurately: the “creeping extension of mandatory power” by agencies possibly (probably) far removed from the interests and realities of cruising sailors.
I have written about this concern in various venues over the years where I called for the recreational boating community to develop some sort of self-regulatory procedures before it is foisted upon us by some outside agency. The PYG’s work seems to be a great start toward setting up a model that might be emulated by the broader recreational boating community. I believe it is in our interest to find a way to self-regulate our recreational cruising activities: to keep any oversight “in house”. This may entail generating guidelines (such as PYG is developing) and to encourage vessels, skipper and crew to embrace the guidelines and finding a way to respectfully discourage ill prepared vessels and in-experienced skippers/crew from departing and from putting themselves and others in danger.
One of the joys and appeal, for me, of our sport is the degree with which I am on my own with minimal outside oversight or interference. I am loathe to put that in jeopardy.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

.


Simon Currin
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Dick - 7/27/2020
Simon Currin - 7/27/2020
Document for consultation - see below and attached

Dear Simon Currin, Commodore Ocean Cruising Club
Polar Yacht Guide

I would like to make you aware of recent developments in legislation and guidance concerning
yachts navigating in polar regions.

In recent years, there has been an increase in yachts visiting the polar regions. For example, there
have been more transits of the Northwest Passage in the last decade (193 transits between 2009
and 2019) than the previous ten decades since the first transit by Amundsen in 1906. Many of the
these transits were completed by yachts. The Antarctic and Southern Ocean has also become
increasingly attractive to adventurous sailors.

Most of these expeditions have been successfully completed by well prepared yachts with
competent crews. However there have been a number of exceptions which have resulted in
search and rescue operations and potential damage to the environment. This is a cause of
concern to search and rescue authorities with limited resources, environmentalists, and
politicians.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is responsible for the regulation of craft of all sizes
throughout the world, however it normally limits its legislation to commercial vessels. For the most
part, private yachts and boats are not subject to detailed or extensive regulation. This has
generally worked well, partly due to the efforts of organisations such as World Sailing (formerly
ISAF) and the RYA, who have long, and successfully, promoted the concept of ‘Educate not
Legislate. However some IMO delegations have proposed that the IMO Polar Code (1) Chapters 9
(Safety of Navigation) and 11 (Voyage Planning) should have the status of a mandatory instrument
for “all ships on all voyages”. On the face of it, the requirements of these Chapters are much
what you would expect for a well-prepared ship in polar waters, and those of Chapter 11 (Voyage
Planning) are similar to the specifications of SOLAS Chapter V (34) that already binds every vessel
in every voyage to the discipline of voyage planning. However, what concerns private yacht
sailors is what may be seen as the creeping extension of mandatory power, into a size and type of
vessel hitherto outside the scope of international shipping regulation.

A voluntary code, ‘Polar Yacht Guide’ (PYG) has been drafted by a number of experienced high
latitude sailors (2) . PYG is in three parts: Part A addresses general issues concerning safety of
navigation and voyage planning in both polar regions. It covers the same subjects as the IMO
Polar Code chapters 9 and 11 but is written for smaller vessels. Part B gives specific guidance for
yachts navigating in the Arctic. Part C is largely a reproduction of existing safety and
environmental advice for yachts produced by the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat (ATS).

The Polar Yacht Guide is being sponsored by World Sailing who are represented on the IMO
working group considering this issue. World Sailing is proposing that education, in the form of
specific yacht guidance, is likely to be more effective than legislation.

Attached is a copy of the draft PYG. We would like to consult extensively with high latitude sailors
and relevant maritime authorities before publishing it. I would be most grateful if you could
distribute this explanation and the draft PYG to interested members of your organisation. A list of
the organisations being consulted is printed below (3). If you are aware of another organisation
which you think should be on the list, please do let me know. I would be grateful if one person
from your organisation could collate any comments and send them back to me by 5th August
2020.

With many thanks.

Yours sincerely,
Victor Wejer

Hi Simon and all,
I have followed some of the work of the Polar Yacht Guide participants and their suggestions and believe their work to be important for recreational sailors well beyond those who choose to venture in the higher latitudes.
In sheer numbers, sailing to the higher lats is on the increase (as has sailing/cruising overall), but is still a very small percentage of the total recreational cruising miles. The PYG reports most vessels are well prepared and manned with competent crew and who carry their cruising goals to a successful completion. However, the PYG’s work is, in part, stimulated by the number of exceptions to those vessels that are well prepared and with competent crew: those that have needed SAR assistance and whose difficulties have threatened the environment. (This variance is also reflected in the broader cruising community.)
Now, any vessel venturing anywhere, day sailing to expedition cruising, may encounter bad luck in any of its various manifestations and need assistance. That said, at some point, reasonable sailors can look at a boat’s preparation and the skipper/crew experience and be clear that their plans are not wise: that they are inviting disaster to be planning to “go out there and do that”.
The PYG, as I understand it, wishes to generate a guide for recreational polar expeditions as a way of educating those intending to sail Polar waters (and thereby making less likely ill prepared vessels and crew.) An alternative is to (possibly) have the commercial shipping regulatory agency, The International Maritime Organization, extend their purview into the recreational area.
However, the PYG work reflects a wider concern that I have written about: that there are too many ill prepared vessels and crews going to sea. A SAR call-out, even in the best of times, always entails some possibility of accident and injury to crew, not to mention expense. And the best of times is rarely when there is a call-out. It seems predictable, over time, that some SAR crew member will endure a serious injury or death trying to assist a vessel that, upon later examination, should in no way have been “out there” in the first place. This scenario, tragic for the crew, is problematic for us recreational sailors as it invites what the PYG describes so accurately: the “creeping extension of mandatory power” by agencies possibly (probably) far removed from the interests and realities of cruising sailors.
I have written about this concern in various venues over the years where I called for the recreational boating community to develop some sort of self-regulatory procedures before it is foisted upon us by some outside agency. The PYG’s work seems to be a great start toward setting up a model that might be emulated by the broader recreational boating community. I believe it is in our interest to find a way to self-regulate our recreational cruising activities: to keep any oversight “in house”. This may entail generating guidelines (such as PYG is developing) and to encourage vessels, skipper and crew to embrace the guidelines and finding a way to respectfully discourage ill prepared vessels and in-experienced skippers/crew from departing and from putting themselves and others in danger.
One of the joys and appeal, for me, of our sport is the degree with which I am on my own with minimal outside oversight or interference. I am loathe to put that in jeopardy.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

.


Thank you Dick for your considered response. I will ask Emily to broadcast this thread to the whole membership via the eBulletin when the final draft of the Polar Yacht Guide is available as you make some good points.
Simon
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Please note, a US yacht has been turned away from the Canadian Arctic due to Covid-19 restrictions.  

US Vessel Turned Away from Canadian Arctic Waters

Vice Commodore, OCC 
Simon Currin
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New Norwegian guidance for Svalbard file:///C:/Users/si156893/Downloads/2020-08%20Safety%20notice%20-%20operations%20in%20polar%20waters%20(1).pdf

Simon Currin
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Simon Currin - 7/27/2020
Document for consultation - see below and attached

Dear Simon Currin, Commodore Ocean Cruising Club
Polar Yacht Guide

I would like to make you aware of recent developments in legislation and guidance concerning
yachts navigating in polar regions.

In recent years, there has been an increase in yachts visiting the polar regions. For example, there
have been more transits of the Northwest Passage in the last decade (193 transits between 2009
and 2019) than the previous ten decades since the first transit by Amundsen in 1906. Many of the
these transits were completed by yachts. The Antarctic and Southern Ocean has also become
increasingly attractive to adventurous sailors.

Most of these expeditions have been successfully completed by well prepared yachts with
competent crews. However there have been a number of exceptions which have resulted in
search and rescue operations and potential damage to the environment. This is a cause of
concern to search and rescue authorities with limited resources, environmentalists, and
politicians.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is responsible for the regulation of craft of all sizes
throughout the world, however it normally limits its legislation to commercial vessels. For the most
part, private yachts and boats are not subject to detailed or extensive regulation. This has
generally worked well, partly due to the efforts of organisations such as World Sailing (formerly
ISAF) and the RYA, who have long, and successfully, promoted the concept of ‘Educate not
Legislate. However some IMO delegations have proposed that the IMO Polar Code (1) Chapters 9
(Safety of Navigation) and 11 (Voyage Planning) should have the status of a mandatory instrument
for “all ships on all voyages”. On the face of it, the requirements of these Chapters are much
what you would expect for a well-prepared ship in polar waters, and those of Chapter 11 (Voyage
Planning) are similar to the specifications of SOLAS Chapter V (34) that already binds every vessel
in every voyage to the discipline of voyage planning. However, what concerns private yacht
sailors is what may be seen as the creeping extension of mandatory power, into a size and type of
vessel hitherto outside the scope of international shipping regulation.

A voluntary code, ‘Polar Yacht Guide’ (PYG) has been drafted by a number of experienced high
latitude sailors (2) . PYG is in three parts: Part A addresses general issues concerning safety of
navigation and voyage planning in both polar regions. It covers the same subjects as the IMO
Polar Code chapters 9 and 11 but is written for smaller vessels. Part B gives specific guidance for
yachts navigating in the Arctic. Part C is largely a reproduction of existing safety and
environmental advice for yachts produced by the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat (ATS).

The Polar Yacht Guide is being sponsored by World Sailing who are represented on the IMO
working group considering this issue. World Sailing is proposing that education, in the form of
specific yacht guidance, is likely to be more effective than legislation.

Attached is a copy of the draft PYG. We would like to consult extensively with high latitude sailors
and relevant maritime authorities before publishing it. I would be most grateful if you could
distribute this explanation and the draft PYG to interested members of your organisation. A list of
the organisations being consulted is printed below (3). If you are aware of another organisation
which you think should be on the list, please do let me know. I would be grateful if one person
from your organisation could collate any comments and send them back to me by 5th August
2020.

With many thanks.

Yours sincerely,
Victor Wejer

new Norwegian guidance foe Svalbard 

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