Thomas Morley Trust (TMT)


RoRo Sailing Project

The Legal Stuff

DSA RoRo Sailing Project is registered charity and so is not subject to the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and is a members only club which you automatically join when you book your sailing. Sailing does have some risks involved and by joining our club and using the facilities you accept this and agree not to hold anybody responsible for any losses or injury. While are talking rules and regulations, the skippers word on board is law. He/she will only have your best interests at heart. We are not as fierce as that sounds.

Both the RoRo yachts are purpose designed and built and cleared by the necessary authorities during construction so no compromise had to be made regarding safety of disabled people.

RoRo is a Members Club (confirmed August 2006 by the Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA)) and technically falls outside the remit of the MCA.

However, RoRo recognise the MCA and its Code of Practice (COP)‘Blue Book’ as a sound basis for safety at sea and adheres to them with documented exceptions where the safety of disabled people are concerned.

The reason for this is that the MCA did not include Disability Advisors when compiling the COP and does not advise on the subject of safety for disabled people who have very specific and varied needs.

Verity K

Verity K complies with all the requirements of the MCA COP and could in fact be registered as such, but the Trustees see no reason for this documentary exercise incurring some £5,000 in cost at this time. It would not improve the yacht safety or alter its legal status.

Spirit of Scott Bader

Is now MCA Coded

RoRo have written to the MCA and asked them consider disabled people, they effectively refused the request.

So to clarify matters regarding the MCA COP….

The yachts are owned by a members club (confirmed August 2006 by the Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA)).

The yachts are not operated as a Commercial business (Oxford dictionary definition).

The yachts are used in ‘sheltered waters' (defined by the MCA COP (Blue Book)).

The yachts are not 'chartered' there is no formal contract for use only an informal agreement (Oxford dictionary definition).

So for at least four reasons the RoRo yachts fall outside the remit of the MCA and the COP.

But RoRo do not see this as an excuse not to use the COP and RoRo actually uses the COP as the MINIMUM standard it should observe.

IN ADDITION to observing the COP, RoRo employ a full time Skipper to oversee safety and maintenance, the yachts have a documented weekly and monthly check schedule and are also randomly inspected by three different people on average four times a month.

There are documented policies in place regarding Risk Assessment and safety induction.

The yachts are personally inspected by the actual builder each year and also dried out for inspection at intervals between this.

RoRo has operated for over 25 years without an incident relating to safety, which we put down to a well thought out safety policy based on research, prediction and experience supported by discipline and purpose designed yachts.

None of the above absolve RoRo from providing a safety policy that is second to none. RoRo operate their safety regime on the principal that it must be at least one step ahead of the advisory and regulatory bodies.

The MCA have inspected the RoRo yachts on more than one occasion – the only question EVER raised was the positioning of the Life raft on Scott Bader which has now been changed.

RoRo will respect the wishes of the MCA and would like to thank them and especially Mark Towl for their help and patience.

The Recreational Craft Directive. (RCD)

The RCD is different from the Marine and Coastguard Agency Code of Practice (Blue Book) in that it does not require anything which may be considered a ‘danger to disabled people’ and so can be used as a very good reference for safety for the RoRo yachts, although both yachts fall outside the remit of RCD (see (f) and (g)).

However the RoRo yachts comply to the RCD as INSHORE VESSELS ‘Category C’. This does not mean that the yachts are not safe in other conditions it is simply a matter of comfort for users of the yachts and that RoRo wish the yachts to be used ‘INSHORE’ as a general rule, (or ‘PROTECTED WATERS’ according the MCA COP.)

Verity K was designed and built before the RCD so falls outside of its rules. However RoRo has made certain Verity K complies with all the recommendations of the RCD other than carrying the actual CE mark or a written ‘Declaration of Conformity’.

Spirit of Scott Bader fall outside the scope of the RCD but RoRo still make certain that the yacht complies with the RCD other than carrying the actual CE mark or a written ‘Declaration of Conformity’. It should be noted that there is not a recognised stability test for catamarans.

(f) experimental craft, provided that they are not subsequently placed on the Community market;

The exclusion in (f) concerns experimental craft. Such craft may be placed on the EEA Market only if their design and construction is subsequently certified in conformity with the Directive.

(g) craft built for own use, provided that they are not subsequently placed on the Community market during a period of five years;

The exclusion in (g) concerns craft built by their future user, provided that they are not placed on the EEA market within five years of being put into service.

This does not preclude the sub-contracting, by the builder, of specialists in certain aspects of the fitting out of the boat e.g. electrical or electronic engineers.

A kit boat bought by its end user, from the kit boat manufacturer, not completed in accordance with the kit manufacturers instructions [i.e. modified(1)] but to the "desires" of the end user is considered to be a "boat built for own use".

If, for whatever reason, a boat built for own use is intended to be placed on the Community market, whether completed or partly completed, within the 5 year period, then certification by a person or persons fulfilling the role of manufacturer would be required in a similar manner to (f) above. These persons would take the responsibility for the appraisal of the design, construction and any necessary modification of the boat. This appraisal, with regard to compliance with essential requirements of the Directive, involves the procedures necessary for conformity assessment.



Updated 25 Sep 2017

This Risk Assessment is for use aboard RoRo Yachts. On all occasions of its use the sponsor (Project Officer, Skipper or other authority)

is to review the risks and make additions or other amendments as appropriate.

Project Officers and /or Skippers are to sign on the certificate provided in the Yacht Takeover Pack.




Skippers must discuss with their disabled crew and/or their carers what special help is required,

how they will be guided/lifted and what they will be expected or like to do.

Serial no



Hazards Identified

Existing Controls (Step 3)

Residual Risk

Additional Controls Required

Residual Risk



Safety and well being of crew. Safety of yacht. Safety of third parties.

Crew to consist of skipper then 1 able-bodied person for each disabled person on board.

Skippers job to be in charge of yacht and crew as a whole and not for day to day requirements of a disabled person.


Skipper to be advised of requirements of disabled on board so that he may take this into consideration when making decisions



Severe Weather

Damage to boat.

Injuries to crew.

Not to leave safe haven if force 6 or above is advised.

RSYC GT Yachts are built and equipped for their area of operations indicated by MCA Categories 2 – 4 as applicable.

Long term planning using routing and weather forecast charts and other weather forecasts. Short term planning to seek shelter in safe havens or allow sea room and selected heading.

Safe havens to be within 60nms for Yachts in MCA Cat 2.

Use of "reduced canvas", storm sails, heaving to, trailing warps, etc.

Crew briefing on heavy-weather sailing and trained in use of storm sails before leaving the vicinity of the safe haven.


Local weather forecasts to be obtained at least once every 24 hours



Man Overboard.

Drowning, partial, secondary drowning, hypothermia and other injury.

Approved lifelines, harnesses and jackstays are correctly fitted, inspected and maintained.

MOB recovery equipment is fitted as required by MCA COP plus equipment considered to be MOD "best practice" (eg the dan bouy).

Automatically inflating lifejackets with integrated harnesses of a MOD approved design are provided and warn by the crew when on the upperdeck, .

Crew on the upperdeck wear lifejackets at all times unless the Skipper says otherwise. Non-swimmers wear lifejackets at all times when on the upperdeck.

Crew always to be hooked on at night, in fog or low visibility, in inclement weather, when seasick and on other occasions when Skipper or the individual considers necessary.

Skipper and crew are trained in MOB recovery and first aid. MOB recovery is exercised on first sailing and as appropriate thereafter.


Crew with reduced mobility wear life jackets and to be hooked on when on the upper deck

Wheelchair bound crew to wear lifejackets at all times when in the cockpit





Sailing Offshore

Seasickness & medication

Risk is reduced by early advice on diet and fluids ie avoid fatty food, alcohol etc.

The yacht's medical kit includes anti-seasickness tablets. Participants are encouraged to use the medication as required.

Individuals suffering from seasickness, are 'clipped on' to avoid falling overboard when on the upperdeck, monitored for proper fluid intake to avoid dehydration; detailed to take the helm, a task that has proven to lessen the effects of seasickness.


Skippers are to ascertain medication requirements, where kept and compatibility with sea sickness tablets.



Deck and shore Work

Trips and Falls












Manhandling the disabled








Moving and Falling Objects

Personnel are required to wear proper footwear that improves adhesion between the shoe and the slippery surfaces found near water. Correct footwear also reduces the risk of foot/toe injuries.


Traditional Rules:

One hand for your self and one for the boat.

Never stand astride a line or in a bight.

Never take a turn around yourself.

Never handle "live" anchor cable except with a ropes' end.

When assisting those with reduced mobility ensure that the helper(s) do not injure themselves and compromise their own stability

Surefootedness comes with increased sea-sense – hence Comp Crew and experience courses etc.

Crew briefed on dangers of moving parts of the Yachts, in particular the boom.

When working ashore in and around boat maintenance areas hard hats to be worn in accordance with Health and Safety Instructions
























Operations under power.

Mechanical Failure

Risk minimised by routine engineering maintenance including daily and pre-start checks.

Inspection of machinery (eg engine shaft and seal) hourly when operating to monitor coolant flow, gauges, battery charger output.

Yachts carry tools and spares as appropriate to the trip planned. Additional spares are carried for deployments.

Skipper must have completed the RYA Diesel Engine course or be considered competent.

For long deployments or ocean crossings one crew member should have professional engineering qualifications.

Crew will be trained to sail the Yacht on to moorings.




Emergency and Distress Situations

Communications equipment failure

Redundancy in communications equipment, including fitted and portable VHF/DSC for short range.

Antenna not supported by spars and rigging.

Emergency equipment (e.g. EPIRB or similar) as required by the MCA COP.

Use of pyrotechnics in emergency situations.




All offshore sailing operations

General safety at sea concerns.

Skippers, After guard and Crew are to be appropriately qualified for the exercise they are required to undertake. Minimum standards are to be in accordance with the MCA Code of Practice and RSYC SOPs.



In close proximity to other vessels.


The International Regulations for Preventing Collision at Sea (IRPCS) are to be applied at all times.

Yachts are fitted with navigation lights, day shapes and sound-making equipment as required by IRPCS.

In the event of damage resulting from collision Yachts are fitted with watertight hatches as appropriate.

Skippers are trained to employ extra cautionary measures where risk of collision is higher, such as in fog or low visibility. UK hulls are fitted with Radar.




Operations at sea and in harbour.


Yachts are to be adequately fitted with fire fighting equipment and all crew members are to be briefed on the action to be taken in the event of a fire.

The cooker is never to be left unattended when lit.

Cooking gas is always to be turned off at the cylinder valve when not in use and a safe and approved routine for the use of gas is set out in RSYC SOPsto be briefed to the whole crew.

Gas cylinders are stowed in a purpose-built locker that is sealed off from the boats interior and drains directly over the side.

Gas fittings meet the appropriate EU or British Standard.

Gas system is further checked as required by RSYC SOPs.

Yacht is fitted with gas and smoke detectors.

Petrol is stowed on the upperdeck in an approved container held in quick release stowage.

Spare diesel is stowed only in approved containers.

Smoking is banned between decks and may take place on the upperdeck only downwind of all inflammable materials.











Food borne disease

Any time an individual is in the galley at sea, he/she wears foul-weather trousers and waterproof sailing boots to reduce the likelihood of scalds. Cookers are always on gimbals with the harbour lock off at sea.

Food preparation areas meet the necessary standards of design.

Separate cleaning gear for heads, galley and other areas.

Soap is to be used in the heads.

A high standard of hygiene is maintained onboard.

Only fresh or properly preserved provisions are embarked.

All outer packaging is removed on the upperdeck to reduce the risk of insect infestation.

A refrigerator or cool box is fitted and used.




Operations in coastal waters and alongside.

Crime – theft, injury, etc. alongside and piracy at sea.

Alongside: Yacht is locked when vacated. All loose equipment is stowed below or in locked stowages. Ship keeper(s) remain onboard when not in a secure berth. Crew remain in groups ashore and SHARK WATCH is in force when appropriate.

At sea: Expeditions are planned to be clear of areas of piracy risk. Otherwise Yacht transits well offshore or is diverted clear of risk areas. Planning includes escort/sail in company. When suspicious vessels are sighted Yacht tacks/gybes away. Crew are required to be visible in large numbers.




Small Boat Operations

Man overboard resulting in drowning or injury from outboards propeller and other harbour craft.

Dinghy cox’ns are properly trained, qualified and in regular practice. Passengers/crew are briefed and wear lifejackets when in open water. Non-swimmers wear lifejackets at all times. Number of passengers does to exceed approved maximum and account is taken of weather/sea state.




Abandon Ship

Man overboard resulting in drowning. Dehydration, hypothermia, starvation etc.

Skipper and some crew will have completed a sea survival course. List of those responsible for providing additional "survival stores" will be promulgated. Crew will be briefed and rehearsed in the drill for use of the life raft. Yacht is fitted with approved life raft pack and VHF/GMDSS.





Major Rigging Failure resulting in damage to the YACHT and injury to the crew.

All rigging is properly set up by a suitably qualified person and surveyed at appropriate intervals and defects rectified. Surveys of rigging and spars range from a "once per watch" deck-level check by Watch leaders, a daily check by Skippers/Mates, pre-sailing mast checks and checks carried out during maintenance periods. Correct sailplan for prevalent weather conditions is used, including correct use of running backstays (where fitted). Crews are briefed to pass along the upperdeck on the windward side and never hook on to standing rigging, to minimise risk of injury in the event of rigging failure.



Port Visits – Potable water replenishment.

Water Contamination

Areas /countries where water supplies may be contaminated are identified and avoided or buy bottled water is used. If any risk of contamination exists then tanks are not refilled and those already used are be isolated. Skippers are trained to test and purify water and suitable equipment is carried for this purpose. Yachts also carry emergency water supply in "jerry" cans.




Operations in temperate and cold regions.

Hypothermia and frostbite.

Crews are provided with appropriate cold/wet weather clothing, briefed on keeping warm and dry and on the symptoms of hypothermia. In extreme climates upperdeck work is kept to a minimum and the duration of watches reduced as required. One crew member has appropriate medical training.




Overseas expeds.


Appropriate vacations/inoculations are identified and participants informed.




Operations in summer and the tropics.

Sun Injury

Crews will be briefed on preventative measures. Yachts are fitted with adequate ventilation cowls. Upperdeck is cooled with seawater. Awning is rigged in harbour, bimimi at sea in the tropics.




"Hands to Bathe"

Swimming Dangers

Non-swimmers do not take part.

One person is nominated as "lifeguard".

A line is trailed astern to aid boarding.

A ladder or scrambling net is rigged.

The Yacht engine is not operated and the dinghy may be used only with oars.




Operations in coastal and inshore waters.


Skippers, Mates and Watch leaders will be trained and qualified to appropriate levels in navigation and boat handling.

Navigation "best practice" is applied.




MCA Maritime and Coastguard Agency

COP Code of Practice. Generally refers to the Code of Practice for Small Commercial Sailing Vessels – a MCA document.

GMDSS Global Maritime Distress and Safety System

If you have any suggestions to improve safety, no matter how minor, we will gladly consider them.

Mike Wood MBE

Chairman and Founder RoRo Sailing Project