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Harbour Master’s Safety Briefing – August

Harbour Master’s Safety Briefing – August

06 August 2021
The Red Funnel passenger vessels, commercial cargo vessels, along with the chain ferry, are the largest and most obvious dangers for smaller craft on the river. Cowes Harbour General Directions inform all harbour users how to interact with each other safely, however, if you undertake shocking and dangerous manoeuvres you not only run the risk of causing an accident but also prosecution and a fine-maybe more.

As reported in The Portsmouth News on 22 July this has been the case for one master of a 6.5 metre long RIB.  He has received a £6,000 fine because he was seen to go over the harbour speed limit of six knots before overtaking and turning sharply within 8 metres of the bow of the Southampton-bound Red Osprey in September last year. The manoeuvre caused the master of the Red Funnel ferry to take evasive action and, in addition, none of the four people onboard the RIB were wearing a life jacket.

The master of the RIB admitted that he had no prior knowledge of the ‘rules of the road’ and confirmed that he had carried out the manoeuvre.

Mark Cam, lead investigator with the MCA's regulatory compliance investigations team, said: ‘This result demonstrates that the MCA will always take appropriate and necessary action when a complete lack of compliance and disregard for the laws of the sea are shown, which compromise not only safety but ultimately the lives of many.
‘We want to send a clear message such offences are not acceptable and those unwilling to follow rules and regulation and improve standards of safety will face the full weight of the law.’

He was found to have committed an act which was likely to have caused the loss or destruction of, or serious damage to, a ship or structure; or the death of, or serious injury to, any person.

The master was also found guilty of impeding the safe navigation of the Red Osprey within the PC Mark Arnold of Hampshire Constabulary’s marine support unit said: ‘[He] showed a shocking lack of regard for his own safety and those around him when he decided to flout the speed restrictions and make this manoeuvre.

‘Not only did he put himself and his passengers at risk of serious injury or death, but he jeopardised the safety of those onboard the ferry, which was forced to take evasive action to avoid a collision.

‘[He] had a very limited knowledge of operating a boat when he set out that day, and this incident highlights just how important it is to know and respect the rules when taking charge of a vessel.’

Ed Walker, CHC’s Harbour Master stated that “this incident reinforces the need for all boat users to familiarise themselves with the 'rules of the road' by undertaking training or referring to the RYA website for guidance – before taking to the water”

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