Are stan­dards of com­pe­tence slip­ping?

Yachting Monthly - - LETTERS - Richard Hales Stephen Bleach

I re­cently sailed my Moody from her berth in Gosport over to Cowes to watch the fire­works at the end of Cowes Week. While anchored in Os­borne bay for din­ner, I lis­tened to the re­lent­less ra­dio checks re­quests on Ch16, pre­vent­ing any­one in real dis­tress from mak­ing con­tact. It amazes me that so many peo­ple don’t have other means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion on board. Per­haps HM Coast­guard should ad­ver­tise the avail­abil­ity of ra­dio checks on Ch67, or that the vol­un­teers of the Na­tional Coast­watch In­sti­tu­tion are very happy to talk on Ch65. How many times did I hear ‘Please re­spond but I won’t be lis­ten­ing’ (over and out).

As dark­ness fell, some in the Bay showed an all-round white; oth­ers, ev­ery­thing they had! Off my port beam I could see a fish­ing ves­sel en­gaged in trawl­ing, ac­cord­ing to its lights, but I’m pretty sure it was a sailing boat at an­chor. A good num­ber of anchored mo­tor yachts were ap­par­ently mak­ing way. The most fright­en­ing sight on my re­turn to Gosport was the en­tirely un-lit black RIB.

So are Col­regs and the Short Range Cer­tifi­cate op­tional? If HM Coast­guard doesn’t want to com­pel mari­nas and bro­kers to ver­ify qual­i­fi­ca­tions as char­ter com­pa­nies do, per­haps some might like to dis­play a day shape and light se­quence de­signed just for them – two round balls one above the other, and a light that flashes twice at night: that’s iso­lated dan­ger.

Radar that send its data via Wi-Fi is handy for boats that reg­u­larly need to lower their masts

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