The Initial Response Team, the IRT, was tasked to investigate a small fishing vessel that had been seen ‘drifting’ close to the shore in and around Charmouth. The vessel was unlit and there were no signs of any crew on board. Three members of the public dialled 999, concerned that the vessel was either drifting unmanned, lost or ‘up to no good’. Having located the vessel and kept in under observation, it became clear that the boat was fishing with nets very close to shore with no navigation lights or lighting on board. Using a loud hailer, the coastguard advised the vessel to make themselves visible; a request that was ignored!
The marine equivalent of the ‘Highway Code’ is the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea also known as COLREGS . This requires all vessels, irrespective of their length, to carry navigation lights if operating at night. Owners should make sure that the lights they provide on their vessels are of approved types, also that they are displayed in their correct position(s) on the vessel.