(Updated below on political supporters) This Friday, 31st August, Save Clyde Coastguard is holding a dramatic demonstration to enable the naval, shipping and leisure sailing worlds and the widespread public, to show their determination to support the saving from closure of Clyde Coastguard to a successful conclusion.
A flotilla off the Clyde Coastguard HQ in the Navy Buildings on the Greenock headland will simultaneously fire red distress flares – which signal a need for assistance – after the start of the short but powerful event.
National and local news teams will be present to record the event. Media support has been described by the campaign team as ‘outstanding’.
Members of the nationwide Coastguard SOS campaign will be there.
Clyde Coastguard will close at the end of 2012 if the shipping industry, the leisure sailing sector and the public do not prevent it.
The event will begin at 8.00pm on 31st August from the coastline of the Navy Buildings, Eldon Street, Greenock.
The best vantage point for spectators is on the Esplanade near the Royal West of Scotland Amateur Boat Club.
The campaign is installing a sound system to let spectators listen in on the conversations between the Flotilla and the Coastguard.
The lighting of the Red Flares at around 8.15pm will be accompanied by Flares.
Members of the Public are asked NOT TO LIGHT ANY FLARES ONSHORE. These can be very dangerous, especially in confined spaces and in crowds.
Boats joining the Red Flare Flotilla
The Flotilla – members and organisers – will use Channel 12 VHF throughout. Flotilla members are asked to be sure NOT to use Channel 16, the emergency channel.
Boats joining the flotilla are asked to be at the muster point (off the coast of Navy Buildings, Eldon Street, Greenock) for no later than 20.00, when the event will begin.
Boats are asked NOT to fire their flares outside of the given times or outwith the stated area. Such flares would be treated by the Coastguard as a genuine emergency.
After the Flares have been extinguished, there will be a minute’s applause to involve the members of the public and crews in showing their support for the Coastguard.
After this the Flotilla Organiser will give a final thank you and good luck message to Clyde Coastguard on Channel 12.
Each vessel in the Flotilla is invited to repeat their own message of thanks and best wishes whilst departing the Flotilla and making their way onward to their destination.
The entire event will take around half an hour.
All boats forming the Red Flare Flotilla are being given the following timetable:
- 20:00: Already mustered boats address Clyde Coastguard HQ
- 20.05: Confirm ready with Land Crew ready who will confirm flotillla ready
- 20.10: Crews on Deck with Flares Ready
- 20.13: Crews asked to Standby and await visual/audio confirmation from Flotilla Organiser to release Flare. Flotilla Organiser will signal BEGIN FLARE BURN by firing his/her Flare and calling on Channel 12 to Boat Crews to light their Flares.
- 20.15 – 20.20: FLARES LIT AND BURNING. There will be a Channel 12 message to extinguish at 20.20.
- 20.21: Applause for flotilla from Shore Crew
- 20.22: VHF Message of thanks and best wishes from Flotilla Organiser who then departs.
- 20.23: flotilla boats also depart.
- 20.30: All Vessels will be underway and crowds departing.
If you see a flare outwith this area or outside this time
Report it to the Coastguard at once.
The Red Flares from the flotilla demonstration are to be released between 8:15pm-8:20pm and only in the area being specified and off the Clyde Coastguard HQ at the Navy Buildings on Eldon Street, on the Greenock headland.
If you spot a Red distress flare outside of these times and outwith this location, please report it as a genuine Emergency and let the Coastguard handle it.
Use all of your personal contacts with boat owners, boat clubs, the Royal Navy, the shipping industry, commercial shipping and shipping services to make sure they know of the event and that they have representation there – preferably afloat.
Let’s see the ferries we pay to use, the tugs that sheepdog the maritime world everywhere, the pilots, the supply boats, the Royal Navy – long time users of the Clyde, tourist experience boats, fishing boats, dive boats, private boats, yacht clubs, RIBS…
Let’s see one massive public signal of the strength of support for the imperative of the Clyde Coastguard service.
Let’s see the sky off Greeock turned brilliant red on Friday night.
For Argyll has asked local and national politicians for the area to use their own contacts in the maritime world to recruit support in presence at the event on Friday.
Political Supporters: Argyll and Bute Council
- Councillor Michael Breslin is making appropriate contacts.
- Councillor George Freeman is passing on the word.
- Councillor Bruce Marshall has contacted Clydeport and Holy Loch Sailing Club.
Political Supporters: Scottish Parliament
- Stuart McMillan MSP for West of Scotland us getting to work on his contacts. He is Convenor of the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Recreational Boating and Marine Tourism so he has contacted the members of the group. He has also mentioned they event on his Twitter page, which has around 1,200 followers.
- Jackie Baillie MSP for Dumbarton, has been emailing contacts in yacht clubs and commercial shipping.
We will record here those others who do the same. Who would not?