Yachtsmen are urged to check the condition of rope lanyards used to take up the slack at the ends of wire lifelines (guardrails) rigged around the deck.
In two cases recently reported, rope lanyards had been allowed to deteriorate over time and parted suddenly under strain, throwing crew members into the water. Fortunately there were no serious consequences of these incidents.
There are no plans at present to change the Offshore Special Regulations but the incidents draw sharp attention to the importance of regular inspection and maintenance of safety equipment.
Attention is drawn to Special Regulation 2.03.1: "all equipment required by Special Regulations shall function properly, and be regularly checked, cleaned and serviced."
The responsibility of the Person in Charge described in Special Regulation 1.02.1 includes "He must be satisfied as to the soundness of hull, spars, rigging, sails and all gear. He must ensure that all safety equipment is properly maintained".
A cursory glance at rope lanyards may not be sufficient to verify their condition. Although not a guarantee against failure, a wise and inexpensive precaution is annual renewal.