Best practice tender driving


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Nigel Studdart
Nigel Studdart
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Tender driving skills

As I sit and watch tenders or Dingy’s being driven around anchorages it strikes me this is a gap in our training programs.

There was a saying was that many people feel they don’t need to learn to drive a car or make love... ( a fallacy on perhaps both counts for many) , perhaps we need to add drive a tender to that list ? At any rate we can all improve in our endeavours with a little upskilling and helpful advice .

Whether it’s on the road in the bedroom or on the water . Speed and distraction are always your enemy .

A yachts tender may take many forms but over the years has morphed from the 8ft pram dinghy under oars I used to love rowing as a kid to a high speed RIB with usually a 15hp engine . The rowing boat kept you healthy and others safe . The RIB is superb for covering distance , carrying heavy loads and sadly killing swimmers , turtles and anything else in your path . Many spend hours considering all sorts of safety equipment from EPIRBS to the right satellite communicator or personal locator yet don’t consider the biggest risk factors . If you don’t concentrate and or use a kill cord your RIB will run over you if you mess up a high speed turn . Similarly at 25-30 k you have little chance of seeing a swimmer checking the anchor of the yacht your admiring .

You are the captain of that vessel your driving.
You may seriously wound or kill someone including yourself.
You are liable to be charged with manslaughter if you kill the person on the water operating at unsafe speed .
You will never forgive yourself .

So many times I see a near miss.

So please use a kill cord and go slowly through anchored yachts .
Think carefully about the consequences .

Please have a sober tender driver after a session ashore and can I encourage the RYA to consider that a yachtmaster who cannot train and ensure that dinghy drivers , handle boats safely is not much of a yacht master at all .





Yours Aye
Nigel
Dick
Dick
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Nigel Studdart - 9/15/2020
Tender driving skillsAs I sit and watch tenders or Dingy’s being driven around anchorages it strikes me this is a gap in our training programs.There was a saying was that many people feel they don’t need to learn to drive a car or make love... ( a fallacy on perhaps both counts for many) , perhaps we need to add drive a tender to that list ? At any rate we can all improve in our endeavours with a little upskilling and helpful advice .Whether it’s on the road in the bedroom or on the water . Speed and distraction are always your enemy .A yachts tender may take many forms but over the years has morphed from the 8ft pram dinghy under oars I used to love rowing as a kid to a high speed RIB with usually a 15hp engine . The rowing boat kept you healthy and others safe . The RIB is superb for covering distance , carrying heavy loads and sadly killing swimmers , turtles and anything else in your path . Many spend hours considering all sorts of safety equipment from EPIRBS to the right satellite communicator or personal locator yet don’t consider the biggest risk factors . If you don’t concentrate and or use a kill cord your RIB will run over you if you mess up a high speed turn . Similarly at 25-30 k you have little chance of seeing a swimmer checking the anchor of the yacht your admiring .You are the captain of that vessel your driving. You may seriously wound or kill someone including yourself.You are liable to be charged with manslaughter if you kill the person on the water operating at unsafe speed .You will never forgive yourself .So many times I see a near miss. So please use a kill cord and go slowly through anchored yachts . Think carefully about the consequences . Please have a sober tender driver after a session ashore and can I encourage the RYA to consider that a yachtmaster who cannot train and ensure that dinghy drivers , handle boats safely is not much of a yacht master at all . Yours AyeNigel

Hi Nigel,
I share your concern and applaud your bringing it to wider attention. May others follow your lead.
I think training institutions can certainly play a part in bringing some common sense and good seamanship into the use of dinghies. That said, I do not think it is the whole story or even most of the answer. Most everyone goes to some form of driver’s education, but there are still lots of drivers who take risks with other people’s lives as well as with their own.
It is a bit of a theme I have going that we, the recreational boating community, are best served by monitoring, even policing, ourselves. In your shoes, I have actively motioned for those going fast in anchorages to slow down with open hands pushing down. If possible, I speak to them. It is often dinghies, but small runabouts run similarly fast and they throw up a big wake.
A group that may be useful is the Seven Seas Cruising Association (similar to the UK’s Cruising Association) as there are often a number of SSCA boats in any Carib anchorage and they are likely to share your concern: Their motto is “to leave a clean wake”. (Get to know their burgee.) They might be a good group to join as well as we benefitted from membership in CA when in the UK. Boats with children are also likely to share your concerns. Gather some forces and make yourself heard: possible also speaking up on the morning net.
Good luck with it and let us know if you get anywhere.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy


Simon Currin
Simon Currin
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Nigel and Dick

Thanks both, thought provoking as ever.

I was wandering around a marina yesterday and was dismayed to see how few folk have made the conversion from two or four stroke tenders to the quiet, reliable electrics that some of us adopted a decade ago. Like electric car drivers, I suspect electric tender drivers tend to drive with range and economy in mind. Generally that means less speed and less danger. Maybe a shift from 15hp fossil fuelled, froth makers to solar refreshed electric outboards would save lives and inflict less pestilence on peaceful anchorages?

I don’t know if you noticed but the latest OCC Challenge Grant is being used to move towards an electric future in the wold of endangered whale surveillance.

Simon
Nigel Studdart
Nigel Studdart
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As an Update to this yesterday morning we pulled a young man out of the water in Admiralty Bay Bequia who made a fast turn and threw himself out of the dinghy. Fortunately I was having my morning coffee on the aft deck at 7am and saw the dinghy circling and a head in the water a few hundred meters away at the back of the anchorage . Our tender was in Davits so a crewmember Sher shot below to radio for help while I rapidly launched the tender. A very brave Bequian was approaching in a Kayak as the dinghy circled at full speed around the guy in the water. I managed to get a tender over waved the kayak to safety and then get over dodge the boat and pull him up into the tender after the fastest I have ever launched a dinghy .
Next was the incredibly dodgy ,in hindsight, task of capturing the dingy as it circled menacingly at full speed . We managed to come alongside and grab the kill cord and kill it. God was smiling at all of us that day and that was an incredibly lucky young man. In hindsight, so was I lucky in stopping that boat without getting injured . On reflection next time I would let it be , and stand off ,or use a floating anchor line ( I keep a floating line for the dinghy anchor) to Foul the prop and stop it . Getting alongside was not the safest manoeuvre and I wouldn’t repeat it. I also certainly would not recommend it . On several attempts that dinghy stern swung dangerously close and it would be easy to get sideswiped by the prop. I would not advise this method of coming alongside. I was running on adrenaline . On reflection stand off or foul the prop . Please use your kill chord and use a safe speed . I got the guy back aboard and he left back to his boat shaking . He wasn’t the only one .
Nigel Studdart
Nigel Studdart
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This casualty was a 4m tender with a 15 or 25 hp engine on it running at full speed so I’m guessing the friction control on the throttle was also tight .
One other learning from this is keep that friction loose so the throttle goes back to low speed if you release . That engine and boat were positively demonic at that speed and incredibly difficult to deal with.


Dick
Dick
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Nigel Studdart - 10/6/2020
This casualty was a 4m tender with a 15 or 25 hp engine on it running at full speed so I’m guessing the friction control on the throttle was also tight .One other learning from this is keep that friction loose so the throttle goes back to low speed if you release . That engine and boat were positively demonic at that speed and incredibly difficult to deal with.

Good work Nigel,
Quite a story. The man was very lucky and I am glad you were unhurt.
It pains me to say that I would completely support you not doing anything more than rescue the swimmer next time. It is not worth getting hurt dealing with someone else’s poor judgment.
Now anyone can suffer from bad luck, but there are just too many out there now on boats who should not be: They are unprepared and using poor judgment. I have focused on boats doing offshore passage making in my writing, but you are absolutely correct in pointing out the same dynamic in an anchorage. You could have been hurt. SAR personnel could be hurt when they go out for a rescue. Too often, as was your rescue, it should not have occurred in the first place.
I hope the man came by later with a nice bottle of wine: or better.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy


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