Guernsey Ports is asking all boatowners to keep some key principles in mind before setting out on the water, as the peak season gets underway.
Harbour Master, Captain David Barker, said: “With the summer approaching, many islanders across the Bailiwick will be thinking about getting on the water in their vessels. I would encourage everyone to consider the ‘3 Ps’ – Prepare, Provide and Perform.
“By following these principles, mariners can reduce the likelihood of getting into difficulty and increase the chances of safe rescue, should things go wrong.”
Here are some things to consider before going to sea:
PREPARE yourself and your boat properly. Have you made a plan and told someone who is not coming with you? Does your boat have enough fuel on-board? Do the engines, rigging, hull, electronics and bilge pump all do their job? Are your navigation lights and equipment working? Do you know the latest weather and shipping forecasts, tides and currents? Do you know how to make a distress call and who should receive it? Have you read and understood the latest Guernsey Coastguard Navigation warnings and the Local Notices to Mariners, available here, on the social media accounts and broadcast on VHF Channel 16.
PROVIDE the right equipment. Does your vessel have enough life jackets/life rafts for all the occupants? Have you got a reliable method of communication, besides a mobile phone? Do you have enough emergency flares? Are they in date and stored correctly? Do you have fire extinguishers, EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon), navigational charts electronic and paper backup, and does the kill cord work?
PERFORM responsibly on the water. Remember your duty to look after your passengers and crew. Observe the ‘rule of the road’ and speed limits in and around harbours and bays . Always be considerate to other mariners (think wake!). Practice your actions in the event of an emergency (distress call, man overboard drill). Do not mix seawater and alcohol or drugs, legal or otherwise!
Captain Barker said: "Although rare, we do see instances where vessels are handled in a way that endangers other users of our coastal waters or risks damaging our marine environment or the wildlife which depend on it.
“I encourage anyone who sees such behaviour to let us know, either by phone, email or VHF call to Guernsey VTS.
“With the new season upon us, Guernsey Ports ask all mariners to refer to the 3Ps guidance. Safety on the water is our top priority and we encourage all mariners to Prepare, Provide and Perform accordingly.
“Most incidents that we attend are preventable with the right knowledge and equipment, so please ensure your vessel and passengers are properly prepared and equipped for the expected conditions.”
Advice on how boatowners can prepare for an emergency at sea is available from Guernsey Harbours website here.