TALL SHIPS AMERICA RIG INSPECTION PROTOCOL
As most members know, Tall Ships America’s Ship Operations and Safety (SOS) Committee and Rig Inspection Working Group have been working in close communication with the USCG over the past several years to develop a Rig Inspection Protocol and Template for vessel operators to follow in conducting inspections of their ships’ rigs. The draft document has been in circulation for some time, and has been discussed at length at various Annual Conferences and regional meetings. We are pleased to announce that finished document is now posted and available for downloading on the Tall Ship America website. Thanks to all in the SOS Committee and Rig Inspection Working Group for their contributions to this effort.
Instructions for how to use the document are included, but please note that the intent is for operators to modify the template to more precisely suit their own rig. Please note also that good recordkeeping of rig inspections, repair, and maintenance is critical to the effectiveness of this protocol.
We know that many operators have developed their own rig inspection protocols and checklists. For these operators, we don’t intend that this new document should supplant their proven successful practice. Rather, this document will be most helpful for operators who do not currently have an organized program in place for rig inspection.
In recent years, USCG Inspectors have become very interested in the condition, safety, and reliability of sailing rigs in inspected vessels, and we expect their attention to rig inspection will only increase in the near future. If an operator maintains the rig well, keeps a good log of maintenance, repairs, and renewals, and maintains an active and thorough program for rig inspection, then USCG Inspectors are likely to be generally satisfied and disinclined to require the ship to hire a 3rd party independent rig inspector. On the other hand, if the rig is visibly in poor repair, if maintenance logs or inspection records are not available or incomplete, then the USCG inspector is far more likely to require an independent rig inspection. In any case, the decision to require an independent rig inspection remains within the discretion of the USCG Inspector.
As all shipmasters know, regular and thorough rig inspections, good preventative maintenance, and attendant recordkeeping are fundamental to good seamanship practice and safety management. Tall Ships America offers the Rig Inspection Protocol and Template as a tool to help operators maintain safe, reliable, and successful operation.
Click here to download template.