Yachting Boating World: Hastings RNLI and the coastguard were put on standby following reports that three girls were in the sea playing PokémonGo. They were fully clothed.
A member of the public contacted the police following concerns that the sea was “quite rough” and the girls were all fully clothed.
Officers paged the volunteer crew of the Hastings RNLI inshore lifeboat, along with the coastguard. Both teams were put on standby.
However, they were stood down after the police spoke to the girls and established they were playing PokémonGo, a mobile phone game.
A spokesperson for Sussex Police said: “The caller was concerned as the sea was quite rough and the girls appeared to be fully clothed.”
“Officers attended and established that the girls were looking for Pokémon. They were advised not to go into the water,” said the spokesperson.
Earlier this month, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency issued a warning after a group of young people took a boat without permission to hunt the virtual creatures.
The boat was later found abandoned in New Brighton marine lake.
Wirral Coastguard Rescue Team and the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service were both called out in the early hours of the morning to respond to the incident.
This latest shout on 27 July has prompted Hastings RNLI to issue a reminder about the dangers of playing PokémonGo close to the water.
Speaking to the Hastings and St Leonards Observer, the coxswain of Hastings Lifeboat, Steve Warne, said: “We are asking people to please have a look at the RNLI Respect the Water Campaign.”
“It’s got lots of information about water safety and can be found on our Twitter and Facebook pages and the RNLI main website.”
Yachting Boating World: An investigation has found the crew and the firm which owned the Enterprise were all “complacent” about the dangers of working on board.
Jan de Boer, 51, fell overboard on 9 July 2015, through one of the vessel’s ports for shooting fishing nets. He had lost his footing in rough weather.
Jan de Boer was not wearing a lifejacket or other buoyancy aid.
This went against his own rule which required all crew to wear self-inflating lifejackets when working on deck.
The Enterprise was 16 nautical miles north of the Dogger Bank in the North Sea when the accident happened.
A Mayday was not transmitted until approximately 40 minutes after the skipper fell overboard. The crew took between 30 and 40 minutes to recover de Boer. Their subsequent efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.
The MAIB report highlighted a number of safety issues.
It found the permanently open shooting ports on the Enterprise did not comply with the bulwark height requirements and presented a hazardous working area for the crew.
The unsafe nature of the shooting ports had also not been recognised by the vessel’s Dutch owner, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) or the crew.
“In common with the rest of the company and the crew, it is apparent that the skipper had become complacent about the dangers of working in the vicinity of the shooting ports,” said the report.
“Safe working procedures, including the wearing of appropriate clothing, footwear and lifejackets were not adhered to and, sadly, the skipper’s decisions in this regard were not challenged by his crew.”
The MAIB also found the onboard risk assessment regarding falling overboard was “inadequate” and that man overboard drills were “inadequate and infrequent”.
“Increased familiarity with the man overboard recovery equipment available on board and frequent man overboard drills would have helped the crew in their efforts to recover the skipper from the sea,” said the MAIB.
There were also no contingency plans for the loss or incapacitation of the skipper.
The report also stated that the vessel’s owner, Ekofish Group, had not reported another man overboard incident that had occurred three weeks earlier.
It had involved the brother of de Boer, who was the skipper of Ekofish’s other vessel, Annegina.
He fell overboard during fishing operations. At the time, the sea conditions were benign
and a crew member jumped into the water and rescued the skipper.
“This incident was not reported to anyone – including the MAIB – and, despite repeated requests by the MAIB, Ekofish has not been forthcoming with any further details about the incident,” said the report.
The statutory crew competency requirements on the Enterprise were also not met.
The trawler was carrying more crew members than was permitted, including the 13-year-old nephew of de Boer.
The MAIB said the MCA had now revised the relevant Merchant Shipping Instructions to Surveyors to ensure that the bulwark height requirements are properly applied to all UK flag fishing vessels.
The MCA has also commenced a targeted campaign to implement these instructions.
The Ekofish Group has been recommended to review its vessels’ risk assessments to ensure that it properly considers the risks of falling overboard and the loss or incapacitation of the skipper while at sea.
It is also being urged to put in place procedures to ensure it complies with the regulatory requirements for the reporting of accidents.
The MAIB has now produced a safety flyer highlighting a number of the issues raised in the investigation.
The flyer highlights the importance of minimising exposure to unfenced openings and adopting safe working practices.
It also demonstrates the importance of wearing lifejackets while working on deck and the benefits of conducting regular emergency drills.
Practical Boat Owner: Coastal fatality figures released today by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) show the number of deaths at the UK coast reached a five-year high in 2015, with 168 people losing their lives.
The number of near-fatal incidents was higher still, with the RNLI’s UK lifeboat crews and lifeguards saving 385 lives in 2015, according to the organisation’s incident data.
The figures are released as the charity enters the third year of its national drowning prevention campaign, Respect the Water, which aims to halve accidental coastal deaths by 2024.
The campaign is targeted at adult men, who account for most incidents. Last year saw an increase in the number of men losing their lives at the coast. Between 2011 and 2014 men have accounted for 75% of coastal deaths but, in 2015, this increased to 84%.
Around half of the people who die at the coast each year never planned to enter the water. Of the 168 deaths last year, more than half (52%) did not intend to get wet – people taking part in activities such as coastal walking, running, climbing or angling.
Coastal walking and running accounted for 21% of last year’s coastal deaths.
A father’s story
Phil Bindon’s son Mike was lost at sea in 2014, aged 23, after being swept in by an unexpected wave. Phil and his daughters Katie and Jenny are sharing the story of their personal tragedy, to warn others of the power and unpredictability of the water. Phil says:
‘Mike and his friend were at the coast at Polzeath. A freak wave caught Mike and swept him into the water. The lifeboats and helicopter were out searching for hours. I just wanted Mike back home. It was very hard as a parent to know that he was out there somewhere and there was nothing I could do about getting him back.
‘Mike’s body has never been found. It breaks my heart. No one expects to lose a child. An accident like this is a tragedy that I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through. I want people to learn from Mike’s death and understand how dangerously unpredictable the sea can be. Accidents like this can happen to anyone.’
The main dangers the RNLI is warning people about while at the coast are cold water, slips and falls, rip currents and waves.
James Millidge, RNLI coastal safety manager, says: ‘People need to treat the water with respect – it’s powerful and unpredictable. Each year RNLI lifeboat crews and lifeguards save hundreds of lives but, sadly, not everyone can be saved. Over 160 lives are lost at the UK coast each year and the real tragedy of the situation is that many of these deaths could have been prevented.
‘Cold water is a real killer. People often don’t realise how cold our seas can be – even in summer months the sea temperature rarely exceeds 12oc, which is low enough to trigger cold water shock. If you enter the water suddenly at that temperature, you’ll start gasping uncontrollably, which can draw water into your lungs and cause drowning. The coldness also numbs you, leaving you helpless – unable to swim or shout for help.
‘The fact that over half of the people who die at the coast each year never planned to enter the water suggests people are also not taking enough care along the coastline itself. We’re warning people to stay away from cliff edges, particularly where there is slippery, unstable or uneven ground; stick to marked paths and keep an eye on the water – watch out for unexpected waves which can catch you out and sweep you into the water.
‘If you’re planning to get into the water be aware that, even if it looks calm on the surface, there can be strong rip currents beneath the surface, which can quickly drag you out to sea. The sea is powerful and can catch out even the strongest and most experienced swimmers.’
Double Olympic rowing gold medallist James Cracknell is supporting the campaign. He says: ‘UK coastline is beautiful and should be enjoyed – but it’s really important that people treat the water with respect. From personal experience I know how powerful and unpredictable the sea can be. A seemingly calm situation can quickly turn into the exact opposite. We’re urging people to be aware of the danger.’
The charity is asking people to visit RNLI.org/RespectTheWater where they will find information on coastal hazards, how to keep themselves safe, and what to do should they or someone else end up in trouble in the water. On social media search #RespectTheWater.
Yachting Boating World: Punty McPuntface? The Conservators of the River Cam are inviting suggestions to name their new patrol boat which will tackle illegal boaters and punts, as well as the odd unruly swan.
However, keen to avoid a similar debacle as Boaty McBoatface, the River Cam Conservancy is making it clear that its board will make the final decision.
There was a public outcry when the Science Minister, Jo Johnson announced last week that the Natural Environment Research Council’s (NERC) new polar research ship would be named the RRS Sir David Attenborough. This was despite the public overwhelmingly voting to name it Boaty McBoatface.
Armed with a £10,000 budget, Ramsay is currently shopping for a second hand patrol boat.
Once purchased, it will be used to give the river’s management a more visible presence on the waterway.
Ramsay said the police are also keen to do joint patrols. “We need it to help us check boat licenses, to monitor the speeds of boats and to help us out at events; we have around 50 to 60 a year,” he explained.
Some of the biggest events on the River Cam’s calendar are the Bumps.
This is a series of rowing races in which a number of boats chase each other in single file. Each crew attempts to catch and “bump” the boat in front without being caught by the boat behind.
Ramsay said the new patrol boat could potentially help them out with a sensitive issue during the races.
“The major rowing events like The Bumps happen during June and July when the swans have just hatched and are young. There is a risk of a young swan getting clattered by an oar, and no-one wants to see a dead swan at a race. It is a question of how you manage that. Potentially, we could try and keep the swans off the river during races by using the boat to herd them off into a cut,” said Ramsay.
The river manager said the patrol boat will also be used to help staff with tree trimming and clearing debris and rubbish, as well as dealing with abandoned boats.
Ramsay said there is also an ongoing issue with commercial punting.
“There are around 20 punts that don’t have a licence which they can’t have because they don’t have an operating base. We can prosecute them, but its a small fine,” he explained.
The long term plan is to update the river’s by-laws. This could allow the Conservancy to seize unlicensed craft.
Last month, it was announced that the Conservancy was looking at installing cameras along the river to assist boaters and rowers in navigation. The cameras would also allow an international audience to spectate at boat races such as The Bumps.
Motorboat & Yachting: BAE Systems has been awarded £13.5m to build 60 new lightweight rapid response boats for the Royal Navy.
The new boats are designed to be deployed from ship or shore for anti-piracy or drugs missions, or to perform rescue operations.
Travelling at speeds of up to 44 miles per hour, the boats can put a huge physical strain on their driver and crew, and have required extensive design changes to compensate.
The new fleet of RIBs are being fitted with shock absorbing seats to minimise the impact on crew members, and the change has the added benefit of allowing the boats to travel up to six-times further.
The seats are heavy, however, and designers had to find ways to cut weight elsewhere on the boats according to Ben Mason, project manager for the P24 RIB.
To make the savings, the boats are being fitted with a new, lightweight 370HP twin turbo diesel electronic engine.
“Since the engine is electronic, it means a lot of the heavy mechanical components have been removed,” Mason said.
Fibre-reinforced composite is also being used in the boat itself, according to Mason. The composite contains less epoxy resin than traditional polyester resin materials, and has a foam core, both of which help to reduce weight.
“The main weight saving comes through the production process,” he said. “The new P24s are manufactured from carbon and various types of glass, which are oriented in such a way as to give optimised strength to the boat.”
The RIBs will be built over the next four years at the company’s small boats manufacturing facility at Portsmouth Naval Base. They will be deployed on the Royal Navy’s Off Shore Patrol Vessels, and the new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, which are due to arrive in Portsmouth in 2017.
Motorboat & Yachting: A MAIB report into the grounding of container ship Lysblink Seaways has revealed that the officer on watch was drunk at the time of impact.
DFDS Seaways has reiterated its zero tolerance policy on alcohol consumption, after a Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report found that one of its skippers was drunk at the wheel earlier this year.
On February 18, the 129m cargo vessel Lysblink Seaways ran agroundon the west coast of Scotland near the port of Kilchoan.
The grounding happened at 0232, when AIS tracking data revealed that the 7,500 tonne container ship was travelling at 14 knots.
The MAIB report explains the cause of the incident, saying: “During the evening, while off duty in his cabin, the chief officer made a private telephone call which caused him anxiety, after which he consumed about 0.5 litres of rum.”
The chief officer, a 36-year-old Russian male, took over as the officer on watch at midnight. The vessel began to deviate significantly from its planned route at 0211, and at 0212 the radar alarm sounded and was reset without any change of course as the ship left the Sound of Mull.
The report concludes that “the vessel grounded when the officer on watch lost situational awareness due to his consumption of alcohol,” but does not reveal whether he had fallen asleep or not before the collision at 0232.
Following the grounding, Stornoway Coastguard and RNLI Tobermorey were called to the scene and reported no injuries to the nine crewmembers, although 25 tonnes of oil were spilled into the sea.
Later examinations deemed the vessel a constructive total loss due to damage to the hull and as a result it was scrapped.
DFDS Seaways says that it operates a “zero alcohol policy on board vessels”, and since the grounding the firm has removed bonded stores of alcohol from some of Lysblink Seaways’ sister vessels.
Gert Jakobsen, vice president of communications at DFDS Group, told MBY: “The day after the incident the chief officer was no longer an employee of ours.
Gert also explained that the 59-year-old Norwegian master in charge of Lysblink Seaways was “due for retirement” after the voyage and so was not subjected to any disciplinary proceedings.
Practical Boat Owner: Televisions, laptops, mobile phones, power tools, heaters or simply charging the boat’s batteries, whatever the electrical need, the stark warning from a leading boat safety body is that petrol generators will continue to cost lives and cause misery unless boaters use them correctly.
Boat Safety Scheme (BSS), made this blunt statement in light of the fatalities and injuries that have taken place on boats across the UK in recent years; devastating events that could have been avoided if the correct safety measures were taken.
Petrol generators can be seen as critical to some boaters wanting off-grid electrical power. Yet the fact that generators emit deadly carbon monoxide and need refuelling with highly flammable petrol means they must be never be installed in an enclosed cockpit area or engine space of a boat and must never be used on or close to the boat where exhaust fumes could enter the boat and where they can cause injuries or fatalities.
The BSS says that if boaters want to use generators, these three basic bullet points should be followed: –
- Never install a portable generator permanently or make unauthorised modifications that are not supported by the manufacturer, or proprietary component supplier.
- Never run generators on the boat, or on the bank near to the boat’s doors, vents, windows and hatches. If you can smell exhaust fumes in the boat, it could mean the cabin is also filling with deadly carbon monoxide.
- Never refuel any generator anywhere aboard the boat; take it to the bank and ensure you are a safe distance from other boats and potential sources of ignition.
However, make sure you are keeping to any marina or mooring-owner guidance and rules on the use of generators, refuelling and the handling of petrol on their sites.
Motorboat & Yachting: South East Asia has seen a spike in piracy over the past year, with attacks 38% more frequent across the first nine months of the year.
Boatowners cruising in South East Asia should be on their guard against the threat of piracy, with maritime crime on the rise in the area.
This is according to the latest report from marine security specialist Dryad Maritime, which claims that there have been 194 such incidents in the first nine months of 2015, compared with 140 in the same period last year.
Criminal gangs aim to siphon fuel, and steal engine parts and high-value machinery from larger ships, but the threat to smaller vessels shouldn’t be underestimated, particularly in the Singapore Strait.
Ian Millen, chief operating officer at Dryad Maritime, called on the local authorities to step up their counter-piracy efforts:
“There is a pressing need for a joined-up security effort in the Singapore Strait and other areas,” he said.
“Without a high visual presence from security agencies, criminal gangs will continue to operate freely with little fear of capture or prosecution.”
However, there was some good news in the report, with Dryad Maritime reporting that the threat from Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean is falling.
Motorboat & Yachting: A large marina fire in the Boston suburb of Quincy destroyed 11 boats and sank three, although no-one was injured.
Firefighters were unable to save 11 boats that were destroyed in a marina fire in the Boston suburb of Quincy last week (October 8).
The blaze started at around 0730 local time and quickly spread along the dock of Captain’s Cove Marina to neighbouring vessels.
An investigation into the cause of the fire is underway, but eyewitness reports suggest it began as an engine fire, which eventually sent 50ft plumes of smoke into the morning air.
No-one was injured, but a young couple who had been living aboard their boat were left homeless as a result.
Boatowner Tamara Silvia told local news provider NECN: “We just sold everything to do this. We have nothing left now.”
The 11 vessels consumed by the marina fire ranged in size from 18ft to 30ft and divers began salvage efforts on Thursday afternoon.
Gary Smyth, deputy chief at Quincy Fire Department said: “We were very limited because we only had one side to fight the fire from, so we took a defensive stance.”
Pratical Boat Owner: Four people were abducted late on 21 September from the Ocean View Resort on Samal island, near Davao City, the largest city on Mindanao island in the southern Philippines.
Cruising sailors’ website Noonsite has received an eye witness statement about the kidnapping that happened at Holiday Ocean View Marina on Samal island.
The four people abducted on the night of 21 September were Canadian John Ridsdel of the catamaran Aziza, Canadian Robert Hall and his Filipino partner of the yacht Renova, and the marina’s Norwegian yard manager Kjartan Sekkingstad of yacht Wiskun.
Cruiser Luc Callebaut of SY Slopemouche, who is currently berthed in the marina, reports:
At about 23:20 on Monday night, 21 September 2015, the marina and boat yard on Samal Island, Davao, Philippines, was attacked by a group of about 10 armed and as yet unidentified men, apparently intent on taking four hostages.
It was a difficult situation with two cruisers hurt and others badly frightened by the altercations on the docks.
It appeared from the CCTV camera footage that after landing on the NE corner of the outer breakwater in two local boats, the group of armed men split up and spread out into the facility including the two marina docks.
Two cruisers that were still awake were taken from each dock. Two other cruisers that resisted were hurt, not seriously, but were not taken.
Included in those taken was the yard manager, who was responding to cries for help from the docks.
The two guards on the property were unable to respond in time to prevent the abductions. The incident was over and the group had boarded their boats and escaped with the four hostages, within about 15 minutes.
Not long afterwards, the police, military and island officials arrived and a search was initiated. Shortly after that, the bottom of Davao Gulf was sealed off by a Navy and Coast Guard blockade, and the military had search units combing the Gulf of Davao shores for the boats.
The following afternoon the two boats used by the armed men were found abandoned on the Davao Gulf eastern shore and the search and tracking efforts are continuing. No positive identification of the persons involved has been made and no group has as yet claimed responsibility.
The incident has drawn the attention of the world media, and the President of the Philippines has made the recovery of the hostages one of his top priorities. All of the Philippine military and police services are involved in the search.
During a meeting held by the marina owners on 23 September, the resident cruisers were given a briefing on the status of the investigation and the search for the hostages. Also, they were given a description of the substantial planned security improvements for the facilities, including a possible permanent military contingent, all to be supervised by a new staff security manager.
Because of the absence of the yard manager, temporary yard and marina managers will be appointed in the near future so that the facilities can remain open for business.
In summary, the Holiday Ocean View Marina and yard facilities here on Samal Island remain intact and will continue business as usual. In view of the unexpected incident, the security will be greatly improved with facility upgrades and additional guards and training.
None of the 50-plus boats currently in the marina have plans to leave because of this incident. The location of the marina south of the NW Pacific typhoon zone and the quality of facilities and surrounding area are considered too good to move elsewhere.
For anyone reading this that had plans to come to the marina in the next few months, they should contact the marina at Info@HolidayOceanViewMarina.com in order to confirm their intentions.