Monday, 9 November: Safety as a priority across all sports, series and disciplines has always been, and remains, very much at the forefront and the mantra of powerboating’s world’s governing body, the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) and its technical commissioners.
At this year’s UIM General Assembly in Monaco, introducing methods aimed at improving head and neck protection, or devices such as HANS (head and neck support) was top of the agenda of the Offshore Professional Committee (OPC), with the decision taken to carry out initial tests in Abu Dhabi during last week’s final round of the UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship.
Several dunk tests, supervised by Bergamo Scuba Angels, were carried out using specially designed equipment that replicates an enclosed two-seater enclosed cockpit.
The first of three tests with two members of Bergamo Scuba and Class 1 and V1 competitors , all wearing the HANS device, successfully extricating themselves from the top escape hatch of the submerged ‘cockpit’ successfully, with both Class 1 and V1 competitors giving positive feedback.
Bergamo Scuba personnel then undertook a further test, this time emerging through the escape hatch in the floor of the upturned devise, equivalent to the hatch that is mandatory in the hulls of all Class 1 catamarans, reporting some critical points that will require further analysis of the safety equipment and solutions. “Safety is an absolute priority for the UIM and is an ongoing step-by- step process in order to achieve this at the highest levels across all powerboating today”, said OPC Race Management’s Gianfranco Venturelli. “I am very satisfied with the outcome of the tests and what was learned. Myself and members of Cominsafe (the international medical and safety commission) will study closely the report submitted by Bergamo Scuba Angels and will look closely at the inboard and outboard video footage. I am confident that we can rectify any problems or issues by developing the equipment and will organize further tests.
“By the end of September 2016, and if after successful completion of further tests relating to the project, a final decision will be taken for mandatory implementation in 2017.”