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Commodore’s Newsletter Spring 2017

The Merchant Navy Association Boat Club

Commodore: Clive Edwards, 19 Horsford Street, WEYMOUTH, DT4 8UH Tel: 01305 781725   email: commodore@seafarersafloat.uk SPRING 2017 NEWSLETTER With the first signs of spring already amongst us I thought it would be an appropriate time to circulate some news and at the same time to wish all our members an enjoyable boating season in 2017. During 2016 we had another very enjoyable week-end on the Norfolk Broads for our AGM back in August and I’ll take this opportunity to remind everyone that the 2017 MNA Boat Club AGM will be held at The Royal Dorset Yacht Club in Weymouth on Wednesday 12 th  July, so please get that date in your diaries now. If you need overnight accommodation I can provide some useful contacts. On the plus side our “Boating Basics” DVD has proved popular and during the year we provided supplies to a couple of boat-hire operators for use with their clients and the revenue from these “sales” proved sufficient to cover our production costs.  We can supply more of these DVDs  to individuals, clubs or commercial operators at a price that covers our production costs plus a small contribution to the MNA Boat Club funds so if any members know anyone or any organisations that might be interested do please let me, or our vice-commodore Chris Woods, know. Again on the plus side our Webmaster (and membership secretary!) Dave Hearn has done a great job keeping this website up to date with interesting news etc and he’s also the webmaster for the MNA Weymouth, Portland & District Branch and  has developed their website at www.mnaweyportdist.uk  into a really informative website, including lots of photos and articles about the new Merchant Navy & Fishing Fleet Memorial that the local branch achieved in having erected on Weymouth seafront last November – if you’re able to make the MNA Boat Club AGM in July do make sure to take a look at this very impressive and evocative memorial to our fellow seafarers lost in the wars of the last century   On the downside, as far as our SeaVue Maritime Safety Scheme is concerned 2016  has  been a disappointing year because, after a lot of effort by both parties our joint venture with the Maritime Volunteer Service to establish a “Lyme Bay Resilience Region” with patrols by sea and along the shore both by boat and by vehicle  failed to get up and running due to a lack of recruits, and this initiative has now therefore been shelved, at least for the time being.  However the SeaVue Scheme itself is still thriving of course, although we could do with a lot more feedback from members about their boating experiences that Dave can add to the website please! Following the demise of the Lyme Bay joint venture with the MVS I was approached by an old friend  and former Portland Coastguard colleague Malcolm Wright  (who on retiring from HMCG last year was awarded an MBE and appointed  RNLI Operations Manager for the Weymouth Lifeboats) to see if since we hadn’t been able to get the Lyme Bay initiative going would I be willing to take on the new  role of RNLI Community Safety Officer (CSO) for the Weymouth Lifeboat area, which includes much of Lyme Bay of course. After running the idea past our National Chairman John Sail and discussing it with other MNA officers and MNA Boat Club members including Gareth Peaston who has been involved with the RNLI locally as a Boat Safety officer and adviser I decided  to accept the CSO role not only because it sounds like an interesting challenge, but also because the recent RNLI “Respect the Water” mission to extend their activities to include the notion of enhancing safety not just at sea but also along the coast and as regards inland waters too seems to me to complement the objectives of our own SeaVue Scheme This RNLI initiative is not just in respect to members of the public who go boating, windsurfing, kayaking etc  but also includes those members of the general public who are beach or riverside anglers, or who simply frequent our beaches, coastal paths, and river-banks for all sorts of reasons including for example dog-walking, or flying a kite and who are often just as vulnerable, and usually far less aware of the dangers, than boat owners are.  The development by the RNLI of this Respect the Water campaign aims to reduce the number of fatalities resulting from drowning by 50% by the year 2024 and I see a very real opportunity for the MNA Boat Club’s SeaVue Scheme to contribute to this initiative especially as the RNLI are actively encouraging the establishment of “partnerships”  in terms of  the  development of  area “Coastal Community Lifesaving Plans” (CLPs)  to achieve that 50% reduction in the number of lives lost. Although the RNLI CSO role is quite new to me I do know that other members of the MNA, and MNABC, have been involved in working as volunteers with the RNLI in a variety of capacities, include as Boat Safety Advisers, Sea Safety Advisers etc and now with the introduction of the new RNLI CLPs I think there is scope for the MNABC SeaVue scheme to make a contribution not least by ensuring that our “Spot, Plot, Report & Record” watchkeeping role extends to keeping an eye on vulnerable members of the public using the coast in all sorts of ways as well as those undertaking “boating activities” I strikes me that this RNLI “Respect the Water” campaign could be something which the MNA Boat Club might embrace in practical terms of an on-line website “Forum” which is something that several members of the club have suggested in the past but which no-one has followed up on by contacting our webmaster Dave Hearn with any ideas as regards suggested content!  It also occurs to me that the MNA Boat Club undoubtedly has members who have the knowledge, skills and experience to contribute directly to the RNLI as Coastal Community Safety Advisers and if any members living in the area between Lulworth and Bridport are interested in getting involved please don’t hesitate to contact me!  And although obviously I can’t speak for them I’m sure that RNLI CSOs at other Lifeboat Stations around the coast would welcome being approached by members of the MNA or MNABC  I’m convinced that most if not all our Boat Club members, including those who seldom if ever go afloat themselves, must come across situations by the sea, on the coast or around inland waters during their day to day activities which are potentially hazardous, or even potentially life-threatening, or perhaps just interesting or even amusing and which if posted on our website Forum might  be of interest to other members of the MNABC, and/or which might justify a contribution to the Nautical Institute’s CHIRP programme,  so I’m going to ask David if he will look at developing a “ SeaVue Forum” page on the www.seafarersafloat.com website to which we can all regularly contribute. With best wishes for the 2017 season, Yours Aye