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
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