Thank you to all those of you who took the time to answer the questions we posted in the thread about the RNLI's SEA Check http://rib.net/forum/showthread.php?...ight=SEA+Check
- we're very grateful for all the responses which will prove invaluable for the future of the scheme.
And thank you to all those of you who contacted us to arrange your own SEA Check as a result of this thread. As can be seen from the responses of some of those who did so, it usually proves to be a very worthwhile exercise.
Also we would very much like to thank Polwart and John Kennett for allowing us to visit RIBnet - your hospitality is very much appreciated.
Thanks to your willingness to answer our questions, it's clear there are a few misconceptions about SEA Check which we are now working on addressing - but in the meantime, perhaps we could answer the most common issues that cropped up on the various forums on which we posted this questionnaire…
1. I want to wait until all equipment is purchased.
A SEA Check is very much an informal visit to your boat to discuss the safety equipment the RNLI recommends you should carry on board and some of the issues surrounding the use of the equipment. We are not coming to to tick off what you do and don't have and there will be not be even a hint of criticism regarding any 'missing' items. In fact if you are waiting to buy equipment, ask us to visit first and we can discuss what would be the most appropriate type of equipment to buy.
2. Afraid I might fail the test.
We've heard people say it's like an MOT for your car - this is not what SEA Check is at all. As detailed above, you'll be inviting us to your boat for an informal discussion and there is most definitely not a pass or fail. We can even visit your boat to discuss how to equip it before you've bought a single item. (Please note though that we only recommend types of equipment, not any particular brands).
3. Not sure what it was all about.
See the answer to question 1. SEA Checks are carried out by the RNLI's Sea Safety Team and is available for all types of leisure craft. The advice we give very much takes into account the type and size of boat you have and the use you put it too, whether it's a rowing dinghy that never goes out of the bay or a cruiser used for offshore voyages. You need to ask us to visit your boat if you'd like a SEA Check (details of how to do so at the end of this post), it's completely free of charge and from our point of view, 100% confidential - if, for instance you have out of date lifejacket bobbins or flares, we can promise no one in your marina or harbour will ever hear about it from us!
4. Never got around to it.
Please do - the feedback we get from SEA Checks is always very positive and boat owners are generally very happy that made time for our visit.
5. Having taken an RYA Course, felt I had all that I needed.
Naturally the RNLI works very closely with the RYA, and training is something we highly recommend. A SEA Check is both complementary to and very different to RYA Courses - we're not visiting your boat to instruct or train, but for an informal one to one discussion, and of course it's a chance to look at specific issues surrounding your particular boat.
6. Didn't need it with my level of experience, felt it was more for newcomers.
Obviously someone completely new to boating can benefit hugely from a SEA Check. However we do many SEA Checks for very experienced boaters and still the feedback we get is that it's very worthwhile. Think of it more as a chance to exchange ideas - as we said earlier, it's an informal discussion - we're not visiting your boat to tell you this and tell you that, and we are as willing to benefit from your experience as we are to pass on our experiences.
As an experienced boater you can also help us - when you have a SEA Check we leave you a sticker for your boat. As someone who's likely to known as an experienced boater within your community, this is a great endorsement of the scheme for others in your marina/harbour/club. So please, book a SEA Check and become an 'ambassador' for the scheme.
7. Didn't want personal belongings being viewed.
See the answer to question 3. - a SEA Check is 100% confidential. The adviser who visits your boat will not tell anyone what he/she has seen.
8. Don't have time - when I get to the marina, I want to launch and get going, when I get back I want to recover and go straight home.
We are happy to visit your boat at a time and place to suit you. This may be whilst you're at the marina or launch site, or it can be at home or a boatyard when your boat is on a trailer, even if it's kept many miles inland. We can arrange to visit during a week day, evening or weekend.
9. Not sure how long it will take.
Depending on the size of your boat, anything from 30 to 90 minutes - usually around 60 to 90 minutes, but we will be in no hurry to rush off - if you have lots of things you want to discuss, we're happy to stay longer.
10. Thought the adviser would be a 'health and safety nut'.
Couldn't be further from the truth! Speaking personally for a moment, I can say that everyone I've ever met as part of an RNLI Sea Safety team has been very friendly and very easy to get on with. There are about 120 Lifeboat Sea Safety Officers (LSSOs) around the UK, based at approximately half the total number lifeboat stations. Depending the number of leisure boats in the area, the LSSO may also have a team of Sea Safety Advisers to assist him or her.
We are all volunteers and, as with all other RNLI volunteers, come from many walks of life, but the one thing we all have in common is that we love boats. Assuming you do too, we will have an affinity with you and your hobby and can 100% promise there will be no lectures!
11. Didn't want to trouble the RNLI - haven't they got enough to do?
The SEA Check scheme is run by the RNLI's Sea Safety Team - our role within the RNLI is specifically to offer safety advice, so asking for a SEA Check doesn't draw on any other resources. All our Lifeboat Sea Safety Officers and advisers have been trained for SEA Checks, so asking us to visit your boat doesn't put the RNLI to any further expense - in fact it makes better use of the investment we have already made in our teams.
12. Didn't know who to contact, the RNLI or the Coastguard?
SEA Check is run by the RNLI. To request a SEA Check, you can either ask for the Lifeboat Sea Safety Officer at your local station (bearing in mind only about half the UK's stations have a Sea Safety Team, though, you may need to contact a neighbouring station), or you can book a SEA Check through the RNLI's website www.rnli.org.uk/seasafety
- there's a 'Book a SEA Check' link as the 7th item in the column of red links.
Alternatively, whilst this thread is still active, PM me and I will send you contact details for your nearest LSSO.
What else does the RNLI Sea Safety Team do?
In addition to the SEA Check scheme we are also on hand to offer advice on safety at sea issues at any time. If you know who your local LSSO is or know any of his/her safety advisers, feel free to ask for informal advice whenever you bump into them. Having volunteered for the role, they are more than happy to spare you the time.
We also hold organised events such as lifejacket clinics - a gazebo or trailer in your local marina/harbour/club where you can bring your lifejackets along for a free check and learn what you should do to carry out your own regular checks.
Or, if you're a member of a club you can ask us to visit you for a presentation on lifejackets or other safety issues - perhaps a good way to get your members together during the winter months.
If you'd like to organise such an event for your club, marina or harbour, again please contact the LSSO at your nearest (or next nearest) station.
If you've read all the way to the bottom of this post, many thanks for your time!