Small boats are used in a wide variety of activities, including
collection of chemical, biological and geological samples, diving,
teaching outdoor recreation and many types of survey. In some cases
small boats are used to travel considerable distances along shore
or through a river system, while in other cases use might be restricted
to the close vicinity of the launching point. To allow flexibility
and avoid impracticality we have two sets of standards for small
boats (< 6m):
Dinghy Class: small inflatables and open dinghies (typically 4m
long) used within one nautical mile (1.85 km) of the launching
point or within sight of a support vessel, or in protected water
(e.g. harbors, rivers, lakes, lagoons)
Runabout Class: more substantial vessels used to travel further
afield or on open coasts.
In this document, as in all activities covered by the Heath and
Safety in Employment Act, students are not considered as employees.
They are considered as clients.
1.1 Management Chart: University of Otago Boat Operations
This code of practice has been approved by the Director of the
Maritime Safety Authority, pursuant to Maritime Rule 35.10, dated 27 May 2004.
The following flow chart outlines the areas of responsibility
for compliance with this code of practice. The Safe Boat Operation
for Vessels under 6 meters policy further defines the responsibilities
within the University for safe boat operation, and should be read
in conjunction with this code of practice.
Boating activities must be planned and approval given prior to
any boat trip taking place. The risk assessment tool attached as
appendix 1 must be completed by the boat operator and forwarded
to the Departmental Boat Officer for approval prior to any boat
work commencing. The risk assessment must identify the potential
hazards and the management of the hazards. The Departmental Boat
Officer has the authority to stop any boat trip as required, and
revoking individuals rights to operate small boats.
1.2 Suitable boat types
Stability and safety are the most important issues for all boats
used in research. Because of their reserve buoyancy, inflatables
made of hypalon-based fabric, rigid-hulled inflatables and pontoon
vessels (similar in design to Rigid Inflatable Boats, RIBs) are
considered especially suitable. These vessels must have multiple
compartments (>2) to ensure stability in the event of puncture.
Other vessel types must have sufficient freeboard to avoid swamping
at maximum passenger load and all vessels must have sufficient
buoyancy to support their maximum load when swamped. All vessels
must be sufficiently stable to support their maximum passenger
load seated on one gunwale in calm water, with the helmsperson
still at the helm. Inherently unstable craft (e.g. open aluminium
dinghies) should be limited to maximum loading of 3 people.
Open boats (<4m) other than inflatables, RIBs or pontoon boats
are considered suitable only as Dinghy Class vessels.
University Departmental Boat Operators (DBO) will be appointed
to be responsible for its overall upkeep and use. This staff member
must be a full time employee, will be expected to have or gain
professional nautical qualifications, and will be responsible for
assessing the competence of prospective boat users. All University
boats >6m will be designated to a Departmental Boat Operator.
Each University boat will have a Safe Ship Management Plan and
operate within that plan.
Private and Non University boats must still be operated within
this Code of Practice.