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Mariners are warned to prepare for their journeys

09 June 2010

Jersey Coastguard is warning mariners to make adequate preparations before setting out to sea.

This weekend's foggy conditions meant a ferry captain on his way to port had to reverse his engines to avoid a RIB (rigid inflatable) on a collision course between Noirmont and Corbiere. The RIB took no action and continued on its way.

The captain's fast reactions meant that a serious incident was avoided, but the Coastguard would like to remind mariners of the need to check the weather forecast before setting out to sea and to be prepared if the weather changes during the voyage.

The International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea 1972 (and in particular of Rule 9) require:

  • every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing, as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions, so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of risk of collision

And Rule 19(b) requires:

  • every vessel to proceed at a safe speed adapted to the prevailing circumstances and conditions of restricted visibility. A power driven vessel shall have her engines ready for immediate manoeuvre

Captain Peter Moore of Jersey Coastguard says “When embarking on a leisure voyage, consider the weather conditions, including visibility. If it's foggy, consider whether your trip is necessary or whether you could wait until the fog lifts.

"Ask yourself - do you have radar? Are you trained in its use? Are you crossing an area used by commercial vessels? Are they scheduled to operate around the time you set off? Do you feel confident that you could to take action to avoid a collision when you detect the risk on radar?

"Remember it is very easy to become disorientated when trying to avoid a collision in fog.”

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