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Boat Handling

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Procedure Log

This procedure has been completed on the following occasions.
Date Member Supplier Cost Comment
2014-05-01 Boo After speaking to our insurers, they are happy for us to leave the boats moored overnight in Queen Anne Battery, Plymouth or another permanent marina in all weather conditions and the boats are fully insured against damage and theft providing the outboard engine locks are used. If mooring elsewhere however the insurers should be contacted. The company are very good and are extremely knowledgeable and mooring elsewhere in a non permanent marina may have special conditions. For example we are able to moor our boats, fully insured, at Discovery Divers at Fort Bovisand, Plymouth providing the wind is force three or less.


This procedure applies to the following items:

(bt001), (bt002), (bt003), (bt004),

Required Items

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                    This page covers planning and operational matters of the boats.  Handlers also need to familiarise 
                    themselves with
                        and also the boats other ancillary equipment .  The boats are also well equipped with
                        safety equipment , , , 

                    Third party liability insurance for powerboat operations is required by . Neither UK law nor our insurance policy require boat handlers to have any formal training or certification. 
                    However our insurer will not cover injury to divers unless   the handler has attended a recognised boat handling course (or can prove they have 50 hrs of experiance) and has a proven ability in first aid.  
                    Club boat andlers must met these criteria - though they may hand over the tiller to others when divers are not in the water. 
                    Also note that  costs associated with a diving accident will not be covered unless  is done by a certified person. Insurance concerns are not just third party
                        our insurers will not cover any thefts unless we have properly secured the item that was stolen to the extent that the thieves had to actually break something to remove it. This means kit should not be left in the boats and the boats should be padlocked to something. 
                        If the boats are to be left moored then the  must be fitted and there are also limitations on weather conditions.
                        It is well worth speaking to westfield if you are planning a trip - they are very approachable and helpful.

                    A list of certified club boat handlers is maintained at
                        . The club does have boat handling instructors able to organise recognised courses. Boat handlers should keep themselves familiar with marine legislation

                    Guests may be invited on club trips .  Guests are often experienced ex-members whose membership has lapsed but who are willing to return to help instruct. 
                        Guests can often be very valuable to a trip,
                        for instance, a guest OWI could provide a teaching opportunity to student instructors by giving on-site supervision .
                        All parties though need to be aware of the particular implications relating to club boat trips.  Importantly, no club revenue gathering charge 
                        may be levied on any guests including temporary membership,
                        kit hire, boat tax or pub crawl fees.  Doing so would be operating for profit - a commercial operation
                        , this also applies if the guest wanted to be paid for instruction.  Our boats
                        are not MCA coded for commercial work, they are not insured for commercial work  and must not therefore be involved in commercial work.  

                        Also, with the exception of instructors helping on recognised boat handling courses, our boat insurance insures club members
                        only . Therefore irrespective of their experience and qualifications guests are not insured to drive the boats and must not be allowed to do so unless 
                        specific permission has been sought from our insurers (Westfield).

                        Often the guest may welcome the opportunity to contribute the the club coffers by becoming a member and this option should be provided at least a couple of days
                        before the trip .  Members without specified diver instruction qualifications are also required
                        to join the athletic union .

                    Our boats are not properly lighted for their speed but if you do end up on the water at night e.g. on a social 
                    in Bristol Harbour
                       then the handler needs to ensure a white light can be shown and that the speed does not exceed 7kts. (Note that Bristol Harbour speed limit is 5kts)

                    Ensure that the
                        has been oiled with a
                        at a ratio of at least 50:1. It is better for the engines to overoil rather than under oil so if in doubt add, though excess oil will lead to spark plug fouling and starting problems

                    The main requirement of
                        is that trips are planned. Most of our navigation is short distance pilotage by sight so the planning requirement is much less onerous than it might be for other vessels. But skippers should at least know how far they are going, how long it will take, how much fuel will be required, what they expect to see, if there are any rocks awash at chart datum thta need to be avoided and have a method of knowing how to get there be it site, compass direction or GPS. UBUC has charts, but there are also online resources
                        which are quite suitable for our fairly limited needs.  There are free 6-day tidal predictions at  and many online
                        weather forecasts such as 

                    To improve our planning it is useful to collect metrics.  If it is possible to measure the mass of the 
                    fuel tank before and after the trip and to record the trip details at 

                    Great care must be taken when in close proximity to divers.  The engine should always be in neutral
                    when picking up or dropping divers.  When divers are in the water the   must be flown and it must not
                    be shown when divers are not in the water., 
                    Equipment that should be carried is documented in .  UBUC pre departure checks are stored
                        to make it easier to printout and laminate and have on board.
                        Note that the club doesn't supply all of the recommended items in .  ,  and possibly  
                        represent personal items that ought to be carried.

                    It is club policy that our two boats are always used as a pair. This provides a second engine and lots of redundancy. A decision to use a boat by itself should have a well thought out risk assessment.

                    The boats are carried in and out of the sea to launch and retrieve.  When fully assembled they are heavy and for this reason they are usually put together as close to the sea as possible.  
                    Cox's should be aware of whether the tide is rising or falling as with care a rising tide can help launch and a falling tide can be be used to land the boats.  Conversely if they are not considered effort can be wasted re-launching the boats.
                    The transducers on the echo sounders are vulnerable to damage and so the echo sounder pools are usually placed on/removed whilst the boats are in the water.
                    Launching is normally easier than retrieval because the boat will be lighter having no water in it, its typically just a matter of sliding it forward on an incoming wave.
                    Retrieval can be complicated by rising tide, surf, waterlogged boats and slippery beach access.  In such circumstances a better strategy is to push the boat against the shore and
                    hold the bows steady into the waves.  With sufficient people to hold the boat in place with the stern resting on the ground the engine can be removed and carried ashore seperately to the boat.

                    Our insurers should be consulted if the boats are to be left moored unattended overnight.  Between waves it is common practise to moor the boats
                    with a wieght belt tied to the painter.  This works quite well but keep a close eye on them especially in an off shore wind.  A rising tide/off shore wind will
                    mean the boats drift out and need to be regularly dragged into shallower water.

                    Occasionally some issue may arise requiring one boat to tow the other. Our boats are quite capable of this and it is covered in the boat handling course . The towing harness should be fully attached.  If the tow will be fast then the engine of the towed boat should be tilted up out of the water removing the risk that the forward motion of the boat forces water up the lower leg into the pistons.
                    The law requires responding to a distress call .  But
                  if assistence is being given to or by a non club boat then you ought to be aware of the rules on salvage.  You may be 
                  billed if assistence is recieved from another vessel.  Equally helping others can carry a cost to your trip if the giving the help takes so much time or uses so much fuel that it prevents you actually diving.  In both cases
                  the best option is to agree the price before the help is given or recieved.

                    Certain sea areas where we may dive or operate the boats have local regulations - typically 

relating to speed limits, licensing, enhanced rights for large vessels, communication responsibilities and navigational limits with which we must comply and boat handlers need to be aware of. Usually it is best to contact the local authority prior to a trip. For new areas the local authority can be found within the though many resources also exist online. Regular areas include: Plymouth a UK Naval base under control of .
keep >50m off berthed warships and >100m from berthed submarines. Do not pass within 200m or 800m astern of a submarine under way. Any diving operations within the harbour (which extends well south of the breakwater) needs to get approval from Longroom Port Control informed tel 01752 836528.

                        is privately owned.  license fees apply for both 

motoring and diving and certain wrecks are out of bounds.

Boating exercises in Bristol will require a purchase of a license from the harbour master (tel 0117 9031484) see also If an incident occurs then we have obligations to report it. If its something that could be the basis of an insurance claim our insurance conditions require notification of the insurers as soon as possible . The BSAC also collects incident details with a view to making the sport safer and as a student club we are also obliged to notify the union within 24 hrs.

                    Disassemble the boats. Clean all boards and side bars with copious amounts of fresh water. Scrub the hull, floor and underside of the boat with a brush and running water. Turn the hull on its side and wash the inside. Take special care to remove all the grit that accumulates between the hull tubes and the floor. Log any problems

                    Store the boats disassembled, partially inflated with the hull valves on red