Competitor safety is one of the most paramount concerns for the Offshore Powerboat Association (OPA). This is because of the inherent risk of injury that is in every high-performance and fast-paced competitive event. As a result, a significant portion of the official competition rules is dedicated to ensuring competitor safety. Some of the critical safety rules and requirements include the following.
Adequate Safety Gear
All competitors are required to dress for safety. For starters, all crew members on a competing boat must have helmets and high-impact floatation devices. These must be coloured orange for visibility. In addition, closed footwear is required for all crew members.
Every boat crew member participating in an OPA race must have official documentation from a qualified physician stating that they have been tested and been found fit to compete. OPA racing is very demanding, both physically and mentally. This might prove challenging, even dangerous, for individuals with certain health conditions and complications. Therefore, medical approval must be sought each year.
Any crew member who will be in a competing boat must have proper swim test validation. Swimming certification must be renewed every year. Participants who will be restrained (with safety harnesses) during the race must, in addition, carry SCUBA equipment with at least 30 minutes of breathable air.
Fire Extinguishing System
Every competing boat must have an approved fire extinguishing system on each of its engines. This is a safety system that automatically suppresses fires in case of an accident or engine malfunction. Additional fire extinguishers can be present in the cabin as well.