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Old 05 June 2006, 04:23   #11
havener's Avatar
Country: UK - England
Town: Far west!
Boat name: Vigilant
Make: Humber
Length: 6m +
Engine: 90hp
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 505
One thing doesn't surprise me though...the comments regarding Portland CG having apparent difficulty in hearing the boat.

Kimmeridge close inshore is one heck of a VHF blackspot - the Hengistbury arial is blocked to the east by St Albans' Head and even the Grove / Portland arial,technically within line of sight, can have problems getting reception from that area. Especially is the boat was using a handheld.

In terms of the incident, haven't seen the full details but a missing diver is ALWAYS an IMMEDIATE mayday - after all, mayday response units can be cancelled but you can't make up for time lost.


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Old 05 June 2006, 06:03   #12
Simon B's Avatar
Country: UK - England
Town: Leicester
Boat name: Vixen
Make: Ribcraft
Length: 6m +
Engine: Suzuki OB 175
MMSI: 235071839
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,621
Diver cover isnt as straight forward as a rigid set of rules would allow, for instance how many Yachties issue an imediate mayday if some falls off? From the divers leaving the surface they are "missing" Some Surface marker bouys are absolute rubbish in all but the calmest of conditions. The longer tube type Delayed Surface Marker bouys are far better for Helm and crew to spot, but suffer from more windage hence compounding the problem of drift. Divers are trained in the eventuality of losing contact with surface cover, though its still unsettling when it happens speaking from experience.

I lost contact with a pair of divers for 15 minutes once as the other pair where some distance away when I recovered them after doing this I searched downtide and locted their marker bouy, although concerned I wasnt panicking as they were still within their theoretical plan. Had I not located them as I did then I feel the correct course of action would have been a Pan-Pan to all stations downtide of my position to lookout.

In the instance of divers drifting out of view a Mayday may not be the correct course of action; IMO the divers are well equiped (or should be) to survive for some time on the surface and (should) have surface location aids to deploy. So they do not unless indicating distress fall into the "grave and iminent danger catergory" - In all events the Coastguard will if they feel it right upgrade the Pan-Pan to a Mayday.

New boat is here, very happy!
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