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Old 12 August 2008, 11:16   #1
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The MCA and Cowes week

Cowes week is over and done with for another year thank goodness but i am getting some very bad feed back from some skippers complaining about the conduct of the MCA on there boat Osprey including insisting on searching boats with clients on board and threaterning to board one boat with the police marine unit because the skipper refused them permision to come on board.

I Understand that they have a very differcult job to do but there must be a better way to flush out the non codded boats. A database maybe so clients and charterers alike can look up boats to see if they are codded.

Did anyone else have any problems, is there anything the trade as a whole can do to help the mca out and us ?
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Old 12 August 2008, 11:32   #2
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After last year - there was some rumblings......especially after the incident on the eastern wall, and they will probably get worse for next year as on the Friday afternoon at about 15:30 a rib crossed in front of the the outbound empty super tanker just north east of the prince consort buoy - i estimated the range/seperation to be about 200ft from bow of super tanker to rib -the Southampton HM launch was 500 yeards in front of the tanker as escort - and he was mighty chugged off and is desperate to find the culprit as he could not catch him...... which basically does us no favours at all......

I have a lot of dealings both with enforcement and a few bods a reasonable way up the tree in the MCGA and I would be happy to launch and promote a register for major solent events of vessels and skippers that have confirmed jobs and certification etc - by far the best way is if we offer a self help solution to the problem... it will help them immensely and will also promote good practice from us...

If anyone interested - please let me know..
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Old 12 August 2008, 12:16   #3
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Nickster, I thought the pilot boats and authority boats had cameras to record those who fail to comply with regs? Guess that close they must have the boat details anyway.

We had no problems with MCA during the week but were made aware by other operators that checks were being carried out which is no problem if our boats are properly coded and equipped as required.

To add a question, do the MCA have inspection powers over locally coded vessels?
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Old 12 August 2008, 13:27   #4
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To add a question, do the MCA have inspection powers over locally coded vessels? [/QUOTE]

I think that may of been the problem with a couple of people i heard from but i think the real problem was that the MCA wanted to come on when the clients where on board,

I have no problem with the MCA walking over my boats but if your lisence is displayed and up to date why do they insist on cheeking all the equipment. Why no make an appointment for them to come another time when the boats are not so busy
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Old 12 August 2008, 14:40   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simonnud View Post
Why no make an appointment for them to come another time when the boats are not so busy
Because the MCA want to get the best value out of Osprey - so they use it to check boats at the busiest time of the year. As a tax payer who pays for the MCA - I am all in favour of that. I dont want Osprey to be rushing all over the Solent when there is only a handful of boats operating.

As an ex-coastguard who now holds a commercial yachtmaster licence, I have a foot in both camps, so to speak. And to be fair, I have been on boats that, whilst coded correctly - were certainly not maintained correctly. So a cursory check of the licence from the MCA is a complete waste of time, they need to look rather more carefully than that.
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Old 12 August 2008, 16:14   #6
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Last year we got boarded with punters on board, and it could look, to a punter who is not used to boats a bit dodgy to have some bloke is a hi-vis jacket tearing your kit apart. I am totally happy to be inspected as I have nothing to hide, but would prefer it when I don't have customers on board.

This year I didn't see much of the CG. No-one I know got inspected, and I didn't see anyone else being so either.
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Old 12 August 2008, 16:39   #7
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Are solent skippers unable to explain to their paying passengers that the MCA are inspecting to make sure they are complying with the rules and therefore the passengers are safe(r)?

Likewise are the MCA incapable of politely making this clear to the charter?

If you were on a coach which got stopped for inspection at a VOSA checkpoint nobody would seriously object (or blame the driver/coach company) assuming that it is done reasonably politely, and relatively efficiently. Likewise if the driver was stupid enough to try and avoid/object to the check then he could expect a hostile response involving the police.

Surely everyone who is coded wants to eliminate the uncoded boats and those who are coded but flouting the rules (not maintaining kit, using unqualified drivers etc).
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Old 12 August 2008, 17:06   #8
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Firstly reply for C2: The rib crossed at right angles to the launch at approx 35 kts across the bow of the tanker and very little name or detail is available to anyone at that kind of distance - yet alone gyro stabilised enough to capture the detail of a rib for enforcement as majority of details will be on transom if anywhere...

With regard to MCA boarding and showing off Osprey - there are arguments for and against, coding and solent licensing is more than just a skipper and a boat with correct kit, as for doing it with punters on board, then i feel if we had a coded/competant list organised and submitted beforehand then it would help alot.. but there was one scenario that im aware of that the MCGA got it wrong this year in trying to enforce and threatening a skipper in front of punters with incorrect rules - they were adamant a liferaft was needed and the skipper said no - MCA were stating 2005 rules - yet NFC have not implemented them and therefore you only need to comply with 1998 rules which the boat and skipper did....... apologies eventually and embarrasingly given...!!

New Forest Council rules are the most relaxed of all solent coding requirements altho will shortly be changed to come more in line with mca coding - expect before next year..... heads up Limo operators...!!!

However as with all legal requirements there are loopholes and grey areas..... should the skipper be commercial endorsed........most definately yes with no exception.... should the boat comply with coding requirements............mmmmmmmmm - you could lease the vessel for the day thereby exempt you from all requirements as it is then a private boat...... the list goes on...???

Working with the MCA to promote professional ops and safeguard our exisiting freedom is paramount in my mind - i can confidently say there are many people trying to impose much greater restrictions on us.... with no regard to ease of implementation or cost awareness...

If we do not form an organised body to represent us as a specialised self regulating unit then we will have to fall to the restrictions that will fall down on us with no recourse...!!!

I personally think the RYA does an excellent job in promoting the training etc but commercial ribs need a dedicated body to liase with the RYA for all the operational areas that are critical to our success that is outside of the RYA remit or scope of expertise....???

Just think back to the amount of rib incidents/accidents in the last 12 months - almost none involving commercial ops - but all using ribs all the same??? whats the difference when it makes news headlines.....Commercial ops needs to be seen as seperate from private ops...??

Tell me what you think? good and bad?
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Old 12 August 2008, 17:10   #9
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...and as many drivers / Skippers are freelance it makes good sense to ensure that a boat being operated complies with coding prior to taking command of the vessel - this is simply good practice...not least of all to ensure that the boat is actually equipped and safe for operation.

Ahh... I remember a highly disgruntled owner who asked me to deliver his motor vessel just 30 or so miles along the south coast with him on board and was most upset when I sent him to the chandlers who lightened his wallet by 650-00. Nothing flash mind you - simple safety equipment, up to date charts, an almanac and WORKING lifejackets plus a few other bits and bobs.

Just goes to show how failing to check beforehand (apart from risking the wrath of the MCGA) can place lives at risk...

Act in haste and repent at leisure...!

Just thoughts,

Gordon...
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Old 12 August 2008, 17:42   #10
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In any eventuality the skipper is in command and the buck stops with him - just to throw a complete spanner in the works and to start debate on no doubt a hot topic how about this::::

Commercial operation of ribs for up to 12 passengers and not exceeding 15 souls on board should fall on to the discretion of the skipper who should have a MEL (minimum equipment list) that must be on board the boat for commercial ops.

i.e. it is the skippers responsibility to ensure enough lifejackets, alternative buoyancy, flares, bilge pump, anchor, charts, etc is on board the boat before he steps aboard to carry out commercial ops - the integrity of the boat its maintenace history and general upkeep / condition should be a call made by the skipper - this list can be drawn up covering all the essential things we need and ditching the non essential things we dont need......... It will also promote a professional operation based on the skipper more than the boat he is driving?

Getting a rib surveyed and coded with onerous equipment that is completely useless on a rib frustrates everyone........ and the coding is only as good as the day the ticket was signed and is often interpreted differently by all sorts of surveyors and indeed the MCA and councils.

Is it a bridge to far? or does anyone else feel the responsibilty lies with the skipper, therefore the vessel operating commercially also should be his decision if the correct equipement is available?
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