Kingsbridge Estuary Boat Club Boatwatch guidance 2021
1. The basic Boatwatch role
The Harbour Master and his staff are keen to work with us because they recognise the value of the local knowledge our members have; and the extra pairs of eyes looking around! We look forward to helping them monitor the Kingsbridge end of the estuary.
The locations we visit at our end of the Estuary, to cover the majority of moored boats or those on the foreshore, are Bowcombe Quay, Embankment Road Pumping station slipway, Kingsbridge Town Pontoon and basin and, if time and weather permit, the Frogmore village end of Frogmore Creek.
We can choose whether to do the round on foot (with or without dog), by car, bicycle or boat.
We should always wear a Boatwatch high-vis vest so it is clear who we are and what we are up to.
2. Expectations of Boatwatchers and personal safety on Boatwatch duty
As we are unpaid volunteers we are not expected to take responsibility for anything more than the observation and reporting described below, and our first priority must always be to keep ourselves, and those we are on duty with, safe.
There are some limited occasions where we may take practical action described below, but here as well the overriding criterion to follow must be personal safety. A boat is an inanimate chunk of plastic or wood, should be insured by its owner, and is replaceable. People are not.
In the unlikely event that any of us become involved in an emergency situation where there is a risk of injury to ourselves or a third party, individual boatwatchers should make a judgement about whether to become directly involved based on their personal knowledge and capability. But we should call the emergency services immediately even if we feel we must hold the fort until professional help arrives.
The Club holds public liability insurance and a special cover similar to employer’s liability insurance. These two cover, amongst other things, Club members whilst doing Boatwatch duty, both should we cause damage to a third party or should something happen to us. However, we must operate within the guidance in these notes to be sure we are covered. Please remember that only Boatclub members, including family members included in the membership registration, are insured, and we must wear Boatwatch high-vis vests whilst on duty.
The Club encourages Boatwatchers to work in pairs wherever possible. This is more sociable and safer, especially in bad weather or after dark. As when boating, we should ensure someone else knows where we are and when we intend to be back home, especially if we do go out on duty alone. This is mostly to ensure we stay physically safe, but also because of the possible (but very rare) eventuality that we meet somebody who wants to confront someone in a high-vis vest.