16 Mitala Street, Newport NSW 2106   Tel: 61 2 9998 3700


16 Mitala Street, Newport NSW 2106
Tel: 61 2 9998 3700

What Safety Category for me

My boat sits on the marina and I do not participate in any Club events

If you do not participate in any Club activities, why not? Regardless, you still have to complete a safety equipment audit form and lodge it with the Club. This form is commonly referred to as a “Marina Equipment Audit Form” and is based on the minimum requirements of NSW Maritime. However, should you take your boat to Sydney Harbour for instance; you will require additional equipment and can be subject to on water spot checks by NSW Maritime Boating Officers. Under the Club’s rules, you can also be subject to checks by the Club’s equipment auditors.

These equipment audit forms expiry on their annual anniversary.

The legislation under which we all are bound can be accessed at:


Another useful site to visit is NSW Maritime’s own site which is a bit more user friendly at:


Search this site for the “Safety Equipment Table” which will give you a guide to what NSW Maritime Boating Officers will be looking for should they stop you.

NSW Maritime uses a classification of Closed and Open waters, with additional requirements if you are more than two miles offshore. For us, the Closed Waters line is a bit of a moving target. It is always south of a line between Barrenjoey and West Head but may extend to Middle Head when waves are less than half a meter trough to crest. The implication of this is that on a typical summer’s day when the nor’easter kicks in in the afternoon a trip back from Refuge Bay to the Club will include passage through Open Water and your vessel will need to carry the appropriate equipment for this classification. This is a NSW Maritime requirement, independent of the Club.

My boat is a cruiser and I participate in the Club’s cruising events, or would like to:

Your primary reference document is the Club’s “Green Book” which is available to download, unlike the Blue Book:

The Green Book RPAYC Cruising Regulations

Regulation 2.01 sets out the categories of events but the primary ones are Inshore, Short Coastal and Long Coastal. The Green Book recognises that people cruising generally have smaller crews but also do not push on when the weather is unfavourable.

Inshore events are held in sheltered waters and less than two miles offshore so cover cruises in Pittwater and Broken Bay areas but would not include a cruise to Sydney Harbour.

Short Coastal does include cruises to Sydney Harbour, Port Hacking or Port Stephens. Quite significant distances can be covered under this category provided each leg is relatively short, along the coast and usually only including one night.

All Green Book equipment forms expire annually on their anniversary.

The category of event will be specified as part of the notice of each specific cruising event.

I would like to race

Like the Green Book, the Blue Book at section 2.01 of the Special Regulations sets out the categories of events. Similarly the Notice of Race for each event will specify this category.

As explained above, regardless of the relevant cruising or racing regulations we are all bound by legislative requirements and in our case even a trip around Lion Island involves what NSW Maritime considers Open Waters. Consequently our “entry” level of racing category has been enhanced to ensure that all boats can participate in our primary racing events without running foul of legislative requirements:

A RPAYC Category 7 equipment audit form is required for all Wednesday, Twilight (Tuesday and Thursday), Commodore’s Cup, Saturday Inshore (Summer, Winter and in between) and the Saturday Broken Bay racing (out to 02). Our standard form includes the additional NSW Maritime requirements which a standard Yachting Australia / NSW Category 7 form does not include. Therefore to participate in our events a boat must complete our form and meet the additional equipment requirements.

The requirements at this level are reasonably straightforward covering very similar requirements to those demanded by NSW Maritime for the waters we sail on.

The next step up from Saturday racing in Broken Bay is the Club’s Short Offshore Pointscore Series (“SOPS”) which runs as an alternative to the Broken Bay races. These races start an hour earlier and are conducted within the boundary of Terrigal to the north, 08 to the east and Long Reef to the south. They still have a time limit and finish in daylight but represent the next step up in competitive sailing introducing new tactical skills, sail handling (and changing) requirements as well as the challenges of getting a boat through a seaway. These races are conducted under Category 4 and elsewhere there are notes on the issues faced in stepping up to this category of event.

Much of the equipment required for Category 4 aligns with the Legislative requirements for boats travelling offshore so even if you do not do SOPS races but do take your boat to Sydney Harbour or Lake Macquarie on occasion, you should be carrying much of this equipment for those trips.

Once SOPS racing has been mastered, the next step are longer races that might (but not necessarily) extend into the evening. Typically the races are to Bird Island and return, Botany Bay and return, and the Port Stephens feeder race from Pittwater to Newcastle. The races start earlier again and have no time limit. They are Category 3 events which is not a big step up from Category 4.

The final step in offshore racing at our Club is our Coffs Harbour racing series. The race from Pittwater to Coffs Harbour is a Category 2 event although all of the other races as part of that series are either Category 3 or 4. The follow on event from Coffs Harbour to Southport is another Category 2 event as are most other offshore races run by other east coast yacht clubs with the exception of Hobart and Lord Howe which are both Category 1 events.

All Blue Book equipment audit forms now expire at the end of June each year (including the ones completed in May) although the Club is seeking an extension to August (the old date) to allow completion of our winter racing under the one form.

I like the odd Twilight / Wednesday race and cruise to Sydney Harbour or similar

Many boats meet this description with not so serious racing combined with enjoyable social sailing to destinations easily within the capabilities of most of the boats at our Club.

Under this scenario you will need a Blue Book Category 7 equipment audit form for your odd bit of racing and a separate Short Coastal Green Book form that will ensure you meet the legislative requirements for your trips to the Harbour and enable you to participate in the overwhelming majority of the Club’s cruising activities.

This is a very common combination of certificates and makes sense for a safety conscious owner who might not be engaged in too many events but wants to stay up to date.

The only issue is the differing expiry dates of the two systems, the Blue Book forms expiring at the end of June each year while the Green Book forms expire on the annual anniversary.


The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club - RPAYC is a yacht racing and sailing club based on Pittwater.

The yacht club offers year round inshore and offshore racing, cruising, centreboard dinghy racing, sail training and courses plus has a large marina accommodating up to 352 vessels.

There is also a modern boatyard with comprehensive marine services to help maintain your vessel.

Membership, including family membership is now available.

Upcoming Events

Register here to receive the latest information on news and events at the Club
Club Newsletters
Please wait

Weather Links