By now many will have read the released policy from SLSA for the introduction and use of Helmets. Let’s cut straight to the chase of what the policy actually means even if the wording they chose to use is completely confusing in parts either by design or not understanding how literally some will read this.
o Helmets are not required when training on flat water (e.g. river, lake, harbour, etc) under any circumstances
o Helmets are not required in training when surf is less than 1m
o Not wearing helmets in training in surf above 1m is allowed following a risk assessment by the sweep.
o The 1M that has just been included into the training section of the policy is an advisory height at which we start to consider our actions. It is important that we do always consider the safety of those in the boat as taking unnecessary risk will only result in tighter control
o In competition, the use of helmets at events operating under the Surf Hazard Rating trial has a base SHR of 13 set when the use of helmets will become compulsory
o At the discretion of the carnival committee as a Surf Hazard Rating (SHR) level of 13 or above is reached the decision to introduce the use of helmets may be delayed
o The decision to delay will be off the back of the recorded incidents and input from the expert Boat Panel into the new Boat Competition Committee which will include the event Referee
o Carnival Committee is made up of at least 3 experienced sweeps (boat panel) and the boat referee
o At an event run outside the SHR trial the 1M rule will apply. Crews will have to wear a helmet at or above a surf height of 1M at these events
o No DQ will apply to any competitor who after falling into the water and observing the passing of any present danger feels the need to remove the Helmet
We will supply a full newsletter better explaining some of this in the next few days but basically we did achieve what we went after with the exception that the 1M rule was applied to training where it didn’t exist and we fully agree that some of the wording in the Policy is clumsy and hopefully SLSA will see this error and make the common sense changes before any damage is done to what has been a long tough negotiating period.