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Commodore’s Newsletter Autumn 2017 

The Merchant Navy Association Boat Club

Commodore: Clive Edwards, 19 Horsford Street, WEYMOUTH, DT4 8UH Tel: 01305 781725   email: commodore@seafarersafloat.uk

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Commodore’s Report October 2017 During July we had a very successful AGM which this year was held at the Royal Dorset Yacht Club (RDYC) in Weymouth and  “hosted” by Captain Paul Compton with the MNA Boat Club large size pennant (generously donated by Rodney Anderton) flying from the RDYC flag mast. Minutes of the meeting have been circulated already, but I really need to say a few words about the day as a whole which was thoroughly enjoyable. We started with a visit to the Weymouth Lifeboat Station and a talk from the Cox’n Andy Sargent and the Lifeboat Operations Manager Malcolm Wright MBE, followed by a visit to the Severn Class lifeboat itself.  At midday, having witnessed the lifting of the Weymouth Town Bridge to allow several MNA Boat Club members boats, my own included, to enter the outer harbour all flying the MNABC burgees, members returned to the RDYC for a tasty buffet lunch After lunch and the formal business of the AGM we were treated to two very interesting talks – the first by Captain John Rose, CEO of CHIRP (The Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme) and the second by Malcolm Wright MBE on his 40 years as a member of the Portland Coastguard MRCC until its closure a few years ago when Malcolm transferred his allegiance to the RNLI!  I think we all agreed that it was very enjoyable day, and I’m sure I can speak on everyone’s behalf in thanking all those involved including of course the Lifeboat Cox’n, the speakers, Paul Compton and his fellow members of the local MNA Weymouth Portland & District Branch and the RDYC, the caterers and the Harbour-master who let our members moor at the quay outside the RDYC for the day free of charge.  The plan is to adopt the RDYC as our “host club” and to hold next year’s AGM there too.   Since this time last year  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 our www.seafarersafloat.com 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. 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 at 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’ve taken on a role as the RNLI Community Safety Officer for the Weymouth Lifeboat area.  The Lifeboat  Operations Manager for the Weymouth Lifeboats  (guest speaker at our AGM this year) is an old friend and former Coastguard colleague who convinced me that 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 complement the objectives of our own SeaVue Scheme, and is therefore something that we should  get involved with as a means of extending our SeaVue activities. This RNLI initiative is not just a service 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. Having taken on the CSO role earlier this year I’ve been fortunate in having been able to recruit a team of very well-qualified and experienced people, including two members of the MNA, two former Coastguards, four members of the National Coastwatch, the RNLI Lifeguards Area Supervisor and the skipper of a charity boat running trips for the disabled locally! I’m also aware  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  Coastal Communities Lifesaving Plans (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”   In that context  our webmaster David has been on something of a learning curve recently getting to grips with providing us with a presence on Facebook, which he has now succeeded in doing and which is a great response to the requests that we’ve received from some members for a “website forum” Although obviously I can’t speak for them, I’m sure that RNLI Community Safety Officers at other Lifeboat Stations around the coast would welcome being approached by any members of the MNA or MNABC who may be interested in becoming involved with the RNLI as members of the  Community Safety teams working to deliver the Respect the Water campaign  I’m also 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 Facebook pages might  be of interest to other members of the MNABC, and/or which might even justify a contribution to the Nautical Institute’s CHIRP programme, Before concluding this report I must mention  other on-going activities that have progressed well du ring the year which have been the further development of the MNA Boat Club website www.seafarersafloat.com which,  thanks mainly to the expertise and huge amount of work that David Hearn our MNABC webmaster and membership secretary has put into it is now being acclaimed by our members as an attractive, interesting and very useful resource; over the past year since my last report  the website has received over 7,000 visits, including almost  4500 by first-timers,  and a total of 67,594  “hits”  Thanks again to David we now have a quite sophisticated  membership database that includes details of members boats etc. as well as the usual contact details etc. For the future, my personal ambition is for the Club is to develop a still more pro-active role for the SeaVue Scheme and to continue to further develop our working relationships the RNLI, MCA and other organisations with an interest in maritime safety such as the NCI, the MVS, the NSBA the SSG and Trinity House as well as with the Nautical Institute’s CHIRP and MARS maritime safety alerting schemes.  Of course everything we achieve is the result of teamwork on the part of your committee, and I must pay tribute to the work put in by all the members of our committee including of course our national chairman John Sail, and our representatives on the MNA national council Tim Brant (our secretary) and Rodney Anderton as well as our vice-commodore Chris Woods, and membership secretary/webmaster David Hearn  .Clive Edwards
Updated 1.12.17