More Coastguard Questions

Suggestions about what to ask our friends at Clyde Coastguard have been coming thick and fast on the forum.

I'll record a Podcast with them on Sunday morning, so if you have any suggestions, please comment here or on the forum and I'll incorporate it too. I'll try to get an answer.

Incidentally, an excellent Podcast (if I say so myself) with Duncan Winning talking about kayak history will go live at midnight tonight.

Here's the questions I have as of Thursday morning. more appreciated

+ Matt in Kirkintilloch asks not sea kayak specific, but I'd be interested to find out what they actually do on a day to day basis, who funds them, numbers of staff in GC clyde and how they work with other agencies, such as RAF SAR, Police SAR and medical services.

Let’s start with the day-to-day routine stuff
+ Nick in Cornwall asked
What's your attitude to receiving a radio check request on Ch. 16 at the start of a trip? Do you get overloaded with such calls. It must be a nightmare for them in the Solent on a summer weekend.

Lot of questions concerned when we should call in and tell you we’re starting on a trip
+ when do you prefer folks to check-in & report back

+ what info they need / the CG66 scheme

+ Chris in Baisingstoke asks Do you prefer that we file a trip plan with a home contact rather than with them for minor trips, and if so what is a minor trip?

+ Mark in Dorset asked two questions
is there any consistent and simple way that we can record trip activity with you, so that they have the info to hand? I've not always been convinced that this is the case.

+ Chris in Warrington It would be interesting to hear what they expect from paddlers on a multi-day trip regarding listening on VHF. Chris’ point is that handheld battery life is such most kayakers on multi-day trips only switch on the VHF when they want a forecast or have something to say. He has had the experience of checking-in at the start, having a yacht call the CG to say he thought the kayaks were in difficulty, then the CG couldn’t raise the kayaks because the VHF was switched off. The shore contact was phone and the whole thing only sorted out when they came back I range and turned on the radio. Chris stresses he is not being critical – he just wonders if the CG realizes the limitations sea kayaks sometimes work under.

+ Mark in Dorset wonders how sea kayakers can help the CG understand more about our sport, because he believes there’s a bit of misunderstanding among CG staff. I asked Mark for examples:
... calling in on Liverpool CG in person, I discovered that none of those on duty had ever seen a sea kayak before and had no understanding of the capabilities/ potential of the craft.
... speaking to Clyde CG last Feb, I spoke to numerous different people in the course of several days and in each case encountered wildly different levels of understanding and interest, and had to re-iterate my trip details each time.
... speaking to Solent CG last year, I was mildly scolded for trying something so daring as going to sea after dark in a kayak.

He again stresses, this is not a problem with the CG. But asks - can we help to give you a better picture of what we do and what our craft can do?

+ how and when they respond to a call from a member of the public

+ Adam in the US asks In the UK does the CG have the power to declare a trip "manifestly unsafe" and therefore arrest boaters under the rubric? (I borrowed this from a different thread)

* new broadcast times - why?
* interpreting terms used
* I’ve done the VHF course, but practice does vary a little - talk me through RT procedure for calling for a forecast on VHF

* flares/Epirbs, what happens
David in London wants me to ask you about how we can dispose of flares that are out of date

* When to call mayday
* what info need and what happens
* talk through an emergency call

Looking to the future.

Tom in Aberdeenshire
would be interested in your take on the growth of sea kayaking, what this means to you, where they perceive the risks and how we can help each other. For example they have added sections to their website now for jetskis .

Tony near Oban
is a highly experienced kayaker, and runs a guiding business and a friend of mine. He’s concerned that the safety record of sea kayaking might be compromised as kayaks become cheaper and people take to the water with less experience and perhaps less prepared for the conditions – perhaps they haven’t heard the pharse – “dress for the swim”. Any evidence of this?

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