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Old 23 January 2021, 19:09   #1
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Crossing English channel in a SIB

I have a 3.6 meter SIB with alu floor and a 15HP engine.

I have been thinking of attempting to cross the English channel and going to France. It would be a challenge. I will wait for a very calm day when the sea is completely flat.

Has anyone here crossed the channel in a SIB?
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Old 23 January 2021, 19:39   #2
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Originally Posted by ben324 View Post
I have a 3.6 meter SIB with alu floor and a 15HP engine.



I have been thinking of attempting to cross the English channel and going to France. It would be a challenge. I will wait for a very calm day when the sea is completely flat.



Has anyone here crossed the channel in a SIB?


Errr

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-kent-53477253
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Old 23 January 2021, 21:30   #3
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I wonder if those SIB's ever get sold off or do they get destroyed?

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I have a 3.6 meter SIB with alu floor and a 15HP engine.

I have been thinking of attempting to cross the English channel and going to France. It would be a challenge. I will wait for a very calm day when the sea is completely flat.

Has anyone here crossed the channel in a SIB?
Better take your passport
It's not just people trafficking, they are also looking for drug runners. Got a radio?
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Old 24 January 2021, 03:00   #4
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You would be crossing the busiest shipping channel in the world, twice for fun in a very small dinghy. You will get reported by every ship that sees you on the outward journey which could be a good thing and keep you safer, but on the return trip all shipping will along with the drones, french coastguard, royal navy and boarder force be making it known how challenging they think it is to use you as practice for stopping immigrants.
As to the boats and outboards stored at Dover, the last I heard was the suitable ones were going to be donated to Sea cadets and Scouts. The rest may go for auction but think of the backlash if they got bought and 3 months later are full of more immigrants on the beach at Dover.
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Old 24 January 2021, 03:39   #5
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It is physically possible to do it.

The fact that you are asking talking in terms of "attempting" and "challenge" suggests you should not try.

The list of safety reasons and legal reasons is very long. You may as well consider unicycling across a 5 lane motorway:you might get away with it but...

You would have to cope with crossing an exceptionally busy shipping lane. A ship the size of a block of flats can go from being a dot on the horizon to on top of you in a few minutes, and there are lots of them, and they won't see you, and they certainly won't swerve or stop.

You would have to cope with the tides, the waves, and the wakes of those ships.

You would have to comply with French laws in terms of licensing, qualifications and so on. They are stricter than the British.

You would need to communicate with the British Coast Guard and with the French authorities during the voyage. How confident is your French?

You would need to comply with all the new rules following Brexit, and with the passive aggression of officialdom in the immediate aftermath of Brexit.

You would also risk being mistaken for a people smuggler or a drug smuggler, and would have to explain your presence.

Most of all, the RNLI are volunteers, not a free service.

I have known people who have crossed the English channel in small-ish boats. One used to do it annually in a decent-sized and powerful RIB back in the 1980s when many of the above concerns did not apply. He was very experienced, but treated each time as a major expedition. The other has done it a few times in a 30 ft motor sailor and again treats it as a major expedition.

The most experienced small-boater I know sails the French coast regularly and always takes his boat over on the ferry.

The choice is yours, but you've asked for opinions, and mine is "Please don't."

If you want some interesting boating and a bit of a challenge, I strongly recommend that you try something all within one legal jurisdiction, and away from busy shipping lanes — or at least where the shipping expects there to be small boats all over the place. Consider something like a lap of the Isle of Wight or Anglesey, or a trip round the toe of Cornwall, or some exploring of the Western Isles and sea lochs of Scotland.
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Old 24 January 2021, 04:21   #6
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Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
It is physically possible to do it.

The fact that you are asking talking in terms of "attempting" and "challenge" suggests you should not try.

The list of safety reasons and legal reasons is very long. You may as well consider unicycling across a 5 lane motorway:you might get away with it but...

You would have to cope with crossing an exceptionally busy shipping lane. A ship the size of a block of flats can go from being a dot on the horizon to on top of you in a few minutes, and there are lots of them, and they won't see you, and they certainly won't swerve or stop.

You would have to cope with the tides, the waves, and the wakes of those ships.

You would have to comply with French laws in terms of licensing, qualifications and so on. They are stricter than the British.

You would need to communicate with the British Coast Guard and with the French authorities during the voyage. How confident is your French?

You would need to comply with all the new rules following Brexit, and with the passive aggression of officialdom in the immediate aftermath of Brexit.

You would also risk being mistaken for a people smuggler or a drug smuggler, and would have to explain your presence.

Most of all, the RNLI are volunteers, not a free service.

I have known people who have crossed the English channel in small-ish boats. One used to do it annually in a decent-sized and powerful RIB back in the 1980s when many of the above concerns did not apply. He was very experienced, but treated each time as a major expedition. The other has done it a few times in a 30 ft motor sailor and again treats it as a major expedition.

The most experienced small-boater I know sails the French coast regularly and always takes his boat over on the ferry.

The choice is yours, but you've asked for opinions, and mine is "Please don't."

If you want some interesting boating and a bit of a challenge, I strongly recommend that you try something all within one legal jurisdiction, and away from busy shipping lanes — or at least where the shipping expects there to be small boats all over the place. Consider something like a lap of the Isle of Wight or Anglesey, or a trip round the toe of Cornwall, or some exploring of the Western Isles and sea lochs of Scotland.
What about them blokes that swim it
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Old 24 January 2021, 05:21   #7
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What about them blokes that swim it
And women too, but it is a major operation, planned well in advance, and cleared with the authorities. There was a recent case of a swimmer who did not get the right clearance and ran into trouble "on the beach" at the other side.


From Wikipedia:
The Strait of Dover is the busiest stretch of water in the world. It is governed by International Law as described in Unorthodox Crossing of the Dover Strait Traffic Separation Scheme. It states: "[In] exceptional cases the French Maritime Authorities may grant authority for unorthodox craft to cross French territorial waters within the Traffic Separation Scheme when these craft set off from the British coast, on condition that the request for authorisation is sent to them with the opinion of the British Maritime Authorities."
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Old 24 January 2021, 05:28   #8
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Crossing English channel in a SIB

Wow!! Certainly stirred up the Sunday morning.
In answer to the actual question posed by the OP. No I haven’t.
BUT, given the right boat, paperwork & conditions, I wouldn’t hesitate to do so. It’s certainly doable. There are people on here that make sea passages in SIBs, that are way more challenging than crossing the channel.
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Old 24 January 2021, 05:35   #9
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Crossing English channel in a SIB

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Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
And women too, but it is a major operation, planned well in advance, and cleared with the authorities. There was a recent case of a swimmer who did not get the right clearance and ran into trouble "on the beach" at the other side.





From Wikipedia:

The Strait of Dover is the busiest stretch of water in the world. It is governed by International Law as described in Unorthodox Crossing of the Dover Strait Traffic Separation Scheme. It states: "[In] exceptional cases the French Maritime Authorities may grant authority for unorthodox craft to cross French territorial waters within the Traffic Separation Scheme when these craft set off from the British coast, on condition that the request for authorisation is sent to them with the opinion of the British Maritime Authorities."


Unorthodox craft aren’t SIBs, these rules are for people who want to do “stunts” like crossing in a bathtub or a raft made of oil drums for e.g.
A SIB is perfectly entitled to cross the channel as long as it follows the rules just like any other craft.
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Old 24 January 2021, 05:40   #10
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To put a different spin on it:

Sure you could do it! Just need...

Training or experience adequate for crossing the channel
All the right permissions, permits etc
All the right emergency, safety and first aid kit
And be accompanied by a much larger pilot craft with an experienced channel-crossing skipper and crew who can assist you should you get into trouble.

I’m not even being sarcastic, anything is possible if you really wanted to do it! It’ll just cost you a lot of time and money to minimise the chance of death or imprisonment!

But no... don’t just launch off a beach on a calm day and set off hoping to eat some tasty garlicky snails for lunch...
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Old 24 January 2021, 05:51   #11
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....
But no... don’t just launch off a beach on a calm day and set off hoping to eat some tasty garlicky snails for lunch...


Why not? As long as you have all the requisite paperwork, and follow the correct entry process when you arrive, there shouldn’t be a problem.
Admittedly, since Brexit the paperwork may have changed slightly, but it’s not going to be insurmountable.
I don’t see why doing it in a SIB should be any different from any other craft, Ribnobburs do it on a regular basis.
WAFIs do it all the time.
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Old 24 January 2021, 06:30   #12
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It is physically possible to do it.

You would have to comply with French laws in terms of licensing, qualifications and so on. They are stricter than the British.

You would need to communicate with the British Coast Guard and with the French authorities during the voyage. How confident is your French?
Not that I'm supporting the endeavour, and I don't know what/how things have changed since Brexit, but why would you have to comply with French laws in terms of (boat) licensing? Assuming the boat was registered in the UK on the SSR, then presumably the requirements are much the same as they have always been, as the boat is a UK flagged boat? Clearly certain pieces of paperwork would be needed to demonstrate that, if requested, and given Brexit, who knows what's accepted any more!

Personally, on all our long sailing trips in France, we've never had any issue with the French Coastguard speaking English, and that almost seems to be the default with English yachts, even if they (as we do) speak good French. Especially at e.g. CROSS Jobourg and the local harbours in Cherbourg, they are (or were) very well prepared for English visiting boats who don't speak French! As you go down deeper into Brittany, yes, it's quite common that the local harbour master in the really small ports (e.g. Ploumanac'h) might not speak English, but the CROSS/Coastguard stations all do, and also typically the staff at the larger ports (e.g. Roscoff).
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Old 24 January 2021, 06:40   #13
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Not that I'm supporting the endeavour, and I don't know what/how things have changed since Brexit, but why would you have to comply with French laws in terms of (boat) licensing? Assuming the boat was registered in the UK on the SSR, then presumably the requirements are much the same as they have always been, as the boat is a UK flagged boat? Clearly certain pieces of paperwork would be needed to demonstrate that, if requested, and given Brexit, who knows what's accepted any more!



Personally, on all our long sailing trips in France, we've never had any issue with the French Coastguard speaking English, and that almost seems to be the default with English yachts, even if they (as we do) speak good French. Especially at e.g. CROSS Jobourg and the local harbours in Cherbourg, they are (or were) very well prepared for English visiting boats who don't speak French! As you go down deeper into Brittany, yes, it's quite common that the local harbour master in the really small ports (e.g. Ploumanac'h) might not speak English, but the CROSS/Coastguard stations all do, and also typically the staff at the larger ports (e.g. Roscoff).


English is the language of the sea & air. All the French coastguard will communicate in English over the radio.
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Old 24 January 2021, 07:18   #14
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I have a 3.6 meter SIB with alu floor and a 15HP engine.

I have been thinking of attempting to cross the English channel and going to France. It would be a challenge. I will wait for a very calm day when the sea is completely flat.

Has anyone here crossed the channel in a SIB?
I reckon it would give you a similar feeling to turning up a one way street the wrong way ! when your hunting around to see a sign you might have missed !
or from my youth your in a pub drinking on your own and someone enlightens you theres free beer at the British legion club tonight !
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Old 24 January 2021, 07:37   #15
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Well I wouldn’t be attempting a crossing in a 3.6m sib with 15hp outboard and no support...

Motor develops fault (prop fowled, mechanical, whatever) - do you have another 15hp on board? Or a smaller aux? How quickly can you change it? Is there a container ship bearing down on you? There wasn’t before but in the 5 minutes since the motor stopped you’ve drifted?

Perhaps I’m just too much of a scaredy-cat!
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Old 24 January 2021, 07:39   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ben324 View Post
I have a 3.6 meter SIB with alu floor and a 15HP engine.

I have been thinking of attempting to cross the English channel and going to France. It would be a challenge. I will wait for a very calm day when the sea is completely flat.

Has anyone here crossed the channel in a SIB?
The Dover strait is what - 20 miles, no problem in a SIB, I'd also agree with the other posts, calm seas and a larger support craft ( just incase 😊 ). We've crossed to the channels islands a few times, its 60 odd miles to the first island, one trip was millpond flat there and back, it would have been safe in a bathtub!
Whatever your floating in, get the weather right 👍
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Old 24 January 2021, 10:31   #17
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It is the distance? Or the going to France bit you like the idea of?
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Old 24 January 2021, 13:23   #18
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Originally Posted by ben324 View Post
I have a 3.6 meter SIB with alu floor and a 15HP engine.

I have been thinking of attempting to cross the English channel and going to France. It would be a challenge. I will wait for a very calm day when the sea is completely flat.

Has anyone here crossed the channel in a SIB?
With how you have written this I would advise no, attempting, challenge, completely flat for all the reasons mentioned when it comes to flat calm a ships wake can be massive. It needs a lot of planing with at least one other boat and good visibility to see ships approach no fog /sea frett.
And of course experience.
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Old 24 January 2021, 14:12   #19
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With how you have written this I would advise no, attempting, challenge, completely flat for all the reasons mentioned when it comes to flat calm a ships wake can be massive. It needs a lot of planing with at least one other boat and good visibility to see ships approach no fog /sea frett.
And of course experience.
Yet hundreds of people with zero experience manage it on overloaded boats every year with no planning at all...........
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Old 24 January 2021, 14:40   #20
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Crossing English channel in a SIB

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Originally Posted by HDAV View Post
Yet hundreds of people with zero experience manage it on overloaded boats every year with no planning at all...........


I hope you’re not referring to the desperate migrants attempting this, over 300 of whom have lost their lives?

Let’s not be flippant.

Yes you can cross the channel in a SIB, but be safe and vigilant, don’t be stupid and selfish.

I’m sure the OP can see which side the weight of advice is on.


“Man drowns attempting unaccompanied channel crossing in small inflatable boat. He asked on the internet and some people said it would be fine”
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