Vanguard Incident, and Safety at Sea

18 Jun 2020 10:43 | Robert Holley (Administrator)

We recently had a serious incident on the water involving one of our Vanguards.  A collision with a commercial fishing vessel resulted in a harrowing experience for one of our members and her guest, and the complete loss of 1/3 of our training fleet.  That there were no injuries arising from this incident appears to be exclusively the result of quick thinking and decisive action on the part of our Vanguard crew.

This is the first such incident of its kind in memory for our Club. Having had an opportunity to reflect on it, I would like to share with you my rules for cycling in the city, as I believe that they may have some relevance to water sports.

Robert's Rules Of Riding

  1. You are invisible.

  2. The other users of the road have little or no knowledge of the rules, and little or no interest in applying those that they think they know.

  3. Other users in vehicles have little or no control over those vehicles.

  4. Each of the other users has choices open to them; be prepared for them to choose the course of action which is least helpful to you.

  5. Notwithstanding rule number 2, the actual hierarchy of priorities on the road is as follows:

    • Large trucks

    • Medium trucks

    • Small trucks 

    • Cars driven by angry people 

    • Cars driven by people in a hurry 

    • Livestock and large pets

    • Pedestrians

    • Cars, other

    • Transit vehicles

    • Cyclists, other

    • You, on your bicycle.

Once you substitute commercial vessels for trucks, and yachts for cars, these rules seem to translate fairly well to boating, and are a useful complement to the actual rules.  There are likely fewer angry people at sea, but possible more who are in a hurry on Tuesday evenings and Sunday afternoons.

Each week the Jericho Sailing Centre reminds us in their newsletter of the key rules; the first is that “it is everyone's responsibility to avoid a collision at sea”.  You will regularly find that, because you have knowledge, skills and judgment (seamanship), there will be a disproportionate burden that falls on you. On the bright side, your actions may one day save a life.

See you on the water, 

Robert Holley

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