The Con­fes­sional

Yachting Monthly - - VIEW FROM THE HELM -

Own up to your sins...

By David Atkins Two years ago we bought three AIS per­sonal lo­ca­tor bea­cons, which trans­mit your GPS po­si­tion to be picked up by an AIS re­ceiver. We wanted to see how they ap­peared on our chart­plot­ter so we ar­ranged with Lon­don VTS to walk about a mile from the yacht and ac­ti­vate them. One by one they were ac­ti­vated and we picked them up on our screen. Even more im­pres­sive was that they were also re­ceived by Lon­don VTS, 25 miles away.

The trial ended and we said our thanky­ous. One of our num­ber took two of the PLBs home with him, packed in­side a kit bag in the boot of his car for safe keep­ing. When I got home later, I re­ceived a phone call from Lon­don VTS to tell me that, while my PLBs worked per­fectly, they were con­tinut­ing to do so.

I was in­structed, very clearly, that un­less there was a gen­uine mar­itime emer­gency cur­rently oc­cur­ring in the car park of West Thur­rock Asda su­per­mar­ket, I was to switch them off im­me­di­ately. I apol­o­gised pro­fusely and promptly got in touch with my er­rant crew­man.

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