Poorly-marked lobster pots and fishing gear are the most difficult and unpredictable hazard facing coastal cruising people, warns the Cruising Association
Sailors are being urged to throw their support behind a Cruising Association (CA) petition, which calls for Minister of State (DEFRA) to improve the way static fishing gear is marked for the safety of all small craft at sea.
CA president, Judith Grimwade says poorly marked lobster pots and fishing gear are the most difficult and unpredictable hazard facing coastal cruising people.
Fishermen, too, report the loss of expensive gear as a result of entanglements. These encounters could even be life-threatening. In one year alone the RNLI dealt with 295 incidents of fouled propellers.
Most CA members say they would try to sort the problem out themselves so this could be a fraction of the actual number. One lifeboat station said 25% of their call-outs were purely from boats caught up in fishing gear.
A CA spokesman said: ‘We think it is time for everybody with an interest to work together to find a solution, particularly one that is cheap and practical for our fishermen. With this aim, the CA hopes to secure a government consultation about the effectiveness of the current guidance and the merits of enforceable regulations for the whole of the UK.
‘The MCA tells us that the same issue was raised at recent meeting of the UK Safety of Navigation committee. RATS member, John Lansdell and Ian Wilson will attend the next meeting of UKSON in May.’
The CA has posted a petition on the No 10 website and hopes you will sign it and encourage others to do so. The CA has the support of its patron, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, and are canvassing other stakeholders and the yachting press.
If you have personal experience of this problem, please let the CA know, as it is keen to build a body of evidence to support the campaign for change. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The CA petition which is live on the government website, currently has 2,445 signatures. It says:
We, the undersigned, urge the Minister of State (DEFRA) to improve the way static fishing gear is marked for the safety of all small craft at sea. The current, voluntary, guidance is not adequate. We ask that DEFRA seeks views regarding enforceable regulation among other options.
Read the petition here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/193254
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