A red flare signals distress and need of assistance.
Clyde Coastguard is, for good reason, distressed and in serious need of assistance.
The specialist Clyde Coastguard station – the third largest in the entire UK – known immediately to those working, travelling and taking their leisure in Clyde and west coast waters will not exist beyond the end of this year, unless everyone who cares about this issue takes determined action to prevent it.
Save Clyde Coastguard, the campaign to save it is asking for everyone with a boat to spare a little time to join a Red flare Flotilla off Greenock at 8.00popm on Friday 31st August.
Save Clyde Coastguard hopes that this distress flare of its own will be seen by commercial, naval and leisure craft users of the Clyde waterway system. This includes the naval ships in the Gare Loch and Loch Long, familiar users of our water; tug companies, shipping industry operators, Clydeport, lifeboats, ferry operators, fishing boats, dive boats, waterborne visitor experience providers, yacht clubs, boat charterers – every and all type of craft.
What to do
Be there – on the water or, as a spectator, on the Greenock esplanade – at the Royal West of Scotland Amateur Boat Club end. Spectator presence is equally vital to show public support for the Clyde Coastguard service.
- Muster off the Clyde Coastguard Station at Greenock well before 8.00pm.
- Have a Red Night Flare to hand. (Rehearse again how to use it.)
- Keep radios open on Chanel 12 VHF DSC.
- All craft present will be instructed on Channel 12 to release their Red Night Fires at around 8.15pm.
This is all about saving money – from a government whose £375 billion – to date – of printing money (quantitative easing) has, by the admission of the Bank of England, largely gone into the pockets of the already rich.
The Westminster Government is persisting in its will to close Clyde Coastguard and to see the waters within its responsibilities transferred to Belfast Coastguard.
The Scottish Government has been markedly passive in this situation, with both Forth and Clyde coastguard services to be closed – the stations guarding over the two main ports in Scotland, serving the heavily populated central belt.
It has not bothered to commission the risk assessments it has the authority to contract. These could have been telling documents, evidencing predictable consequences for the environment and for the tourism industry following the potential loss of Clyde Coastguard.
This suggests that the Scottish Government is no different from the Westminster Government in having little actual understanding of the role of a specialist coastguard service in marine and maritime matters.
As with so much these days – and in the end it may be no bad thing – the people have to take things into their own hands and demonstrate their will where matters are of grave concern – as this is.
Clyde Coastguard covers the waters from the Mull of Galloway to Ardnamurchan Point – a complex, busy. and substantial sea area. It includes
- Galloway Sector – Farland Head Ardrossan to Mull of Galloway
- Kintyre Sector – Point of Knapp to Lochgilphead and the Islands of Jura and Gigha Clyde – Far Head, Ardrossan to Lochgilphead and the Islands of Cumbrae and Bute.
- Oban Sector – Point of Knap, Sound of Jura to Highland/Argyll border north of Appin, including the islands of Mull, Tiree and Colonsay to Corryvrechan
How much of these are Argyll waters? We owe them.
Please be there – on the water or on the Greenock esplanade. Representatives of the National SOS coastguard campaign will be present in support.
Please – between now and 31st August – be active and inventive in making sure that every individual, organisation, boat operator or owner of any kind at all, knows about the event and promises to turn up.
This event will not be fine if it is left to ‘everyone else’. Do every possible thing you can to make it big and make it matter, Do it yourself.
And Luke Patience
If Luke Patience happens to be back home for a breather after his and Stuart Bithell’s success in the 470 dinghy event at the London 2012 Olympics, let us know he’ll be there, get him on a boat in the flotilla – with his medal and a spotlight – and tour the flotilla to show his support for Clyde Coastguard.
Let us know if you’ll be there, with or on a boat or on the esplanade and we’ll make sure your support is recorded.
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