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Safety Equipment Notice

Published on 8/14/2018

ILCA Safety Equipment Rules


Questions have arisen concerning class safety rules, and what equipment must be carried on the boat when racing. In order to clarify this issue, I have looked through our class rules as currently posted on the ILCA website, with the results shown below.


Provisions concerning safety equipment are contained in several places in our class rules and by-laws. The rules below are copied directly from the official versions on the ILCA website.


ILCA By-Laws

Article VIII – Racing Restrictions of the ILCA By-Laws reads in part:

5. Portable Equipment

a) Mandatory

i)  A fluke-type anchor weighing not less than 1.8Kg (4lb) with a line not shorter than 15.24m (50ft). The line shall be a minimum of 9.525mm (3/8 inches) in diameter and shall be made of Nylon or Dacron. This line shall be used only for towing or anchoring. Alternatives may be prescribed in the Notice of Race or Sailing Instructions.

ii)  Compass.

iii)  Bucket with a minimum capacity of one gallon.

iv)  Throwable life preserver or cushion with an attached whistle.

v)  Paddle.

vi)  Other lifesaving equipment as required by government regulations.


Document Governing Sanctioned Events

Article VI – Eligibility

  1. Boats must hold valid Measurement Certificates, including Mast Certifications, and must display valid membership decal and mast decal. Measurement Certificates must be presented at time of Measurement.

Each boat shall carry a fluke-type anchor weighing at least 4 pounds (1.8 kg) with 50' (15.24m) of 3/8” (9.525 mm) line attached for anchoring a Lightning, a compass, a minimum one gallon bucket, a paddle, an approved wearable life preserver for each person on board, a throwable life preserver (cushion) and attached whistle unless modified with the approval of the Measurement Committee. Modifications should be included in the Notice of Race. Each yacht must be equipped with a centerboard preventer.

The requirements listed in the By-Laws (Anchor, Safety Line, compass, bucket, cushion, paddle) must be on the boat at all times, except when being weighed. For Sanctioned events, you must also carry life jackets and a centerboard preventer.

At the moment, the rules governing sanctioned events are stricter than those for general racing, as they require life jackets and the centerboard preventer. Note also that while there is limited provision for modification of these items by the Notice of Race, Sailing Instructions, or Measurement Committee, such modifications are rare, and would be either published in advance of any particular event or posted on the official regatta notice board.

This equipment is as much a part of a Lightning as the centerboard, rudder, or spinnaker pole, and must be on the boat whenever it is raced. Failure to carry this equipment can be dangerous, and when racing as a Lightning is considered illegal.

Regatta officials, Class Officers, and Measurement personnel have the right to inspect boats before and during regattas and verify that the equipment required for that event is onboard. In order to promote safe and fair competition at our events, such inspections are currently being planned and prepared for. Failure to carry required safety equipment would merit penalties associated with racing an illegal boat in the event.

It is strongly recommended that the equipment specified by the Document Governing Sanctioned Events (the lifejackets and centerboard preventer) be onboard at all times.

In order to make the requirements simpler, I intend to propose consolidating the list of required equipment and placing it in a single location within our rules, and will be working through established ILCA procedures to accomplish that.

William F. Cabrall

ILCA Chief Measurer

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