Safety - General
Advice from the Harbour Master
Following a close quarters incident in April 2014 between two fishing vessels, MARINERS ARE ADVISED to be particularly vigilant if navigating outside the designated navigation channels of the Humber and to keep a good lookout by all available means for the presence of small craft. The number of small craft afloat increases in the summer months and such craft may not always be easily identifiable dependent on sea conditions.
OWNERS OF SMALL CRAFT ARE ADVISED to consider carefully their own personal safety when afloat, their visibility to other vessels, the prevailing and forecast wind, visibility and sea conditions, and the fact that VTS Humber has only a very limited ability to monitor small craft activity, not least because small vessels (as defined in the Humber Navigation Byelaws 1990) are not required to report and there is no mandatory requirement for them to be fitted with AIS. Owners should also consider whether the voluntary fitting of such equipment would enhance their safety whilst afloat.
Check the weather forecast by listening to the shipping or local radio forecast, watching Teletext ITV, telephoning the Maritime and Coastguard Agency or listening to its reports on VHF Channel 67.
Check the condition of the boat and its equipment.
Ensure the engine is well maintained. Carry a tool kit and essential spares.
Ensure safety equipment is in good order and is provided for all on board.
Carry day and night distress flares, first aid kit and a torch.
Carry VHF radio with marine frequencies, do not rely on Cellnet and other portable phones.
Check local conditions, tide rates, shoal waters.
Obtain and carry the appropriate charts and tide tables.
Plan your trip.
Ascertain how long the voyage will take.
It is prudent to set watches for crew members.
Plan safe havens en route and alternatives.
Have sufficient crew for voyage.
"MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY. ALL STATIONS, ALL STATIONS, ALL STATIONS. THIS IS ........ "
Used to indicate that the vessel (or aircraft) is in grave and imminent danger, is sinking or about to sink or is on fire.
"PAN, PAN, PAN: ALL STATIONS, ALL STATIONS, ALL STATIONS. THIS IS....... "
Used to indicate that the station has a very urgent message concerning the safety of a ship or person on board.
"SE'CURITE', SE'CURITE', SE'CURITE'. THIS IS ..... "
Used to indicate that the station is about to transmit an important navigational or meteorological warning.
International Code of Signals
'V': "I require assistance."
'F': "I am disabled; please communicate with me."
'Q': "I request free pratique, my vessel is healthy."
'U': "You are running into danger."
'O': "Man overboard."
'W': "I require medical assistance."
When the helicopter is sighted by a boat in distress, a flare, orange smoke signal, dye marker or a well-trained Aldis lamp will assist recognition (very important if there are other vessels in the vicinity).
Survivors from a yacht with a mast may need to be picked up from a dinghy or liferaft at least 100 ft (30 m) away.
If a crewman descends, he will take charge: obey his instructions. Never secure the winch wire to the yacht and beware that it may carry a lethal static charge if it is not dipped (earthed) in the sea before handling.