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How to avoid expensive mistakes when you buy a new or second-hand yacht. 

Available on Amazon here


Icom IC-M35We review the Icom IC-M35 handheld.  Read the full review here.

GMDSS A User's Handbook

By Denise Bréhaut

GMDSS A user's handbook








The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) provides a fast and efficient way of calling for assistance at sea, whatever the size of craft or its geographical position. Since it was first published, this book has helped explain the system for anyone using GMDSS and has been excellent pre-course reading for students.



SafaSail HatThe SafaSail Hard Hat looks just like a sailing cap, but will help protect you if you get a bang to the head.  See our review here

Trinity House shines welcome light on the Future

Trinity House Officer at WorkThree very important documents for leisure yachtsmen have almost slipped un-noticed into publication. The General Lighthouse Authorities (GLA) plans for the future of Aids to Navigation (Buoys, Lights and other marks), its Joint Navigation Requirements and its Radio Navigation Policy set out the framework for the future.

The sheer professionalism of Trinity House and its companion organisations, Northern Lighthouse Board and Irish Lights shines through every aspect of these plans. Like the Royal Jubilee celebrations, but without the razzamatazz, they make you proud to be British.

They are highly encouraging documents. In the Introduction to Aids to Navigation, the GLAs state:

"The growth in marine leisure activities, the proliferation of high-speed and larger craft and changes in traffic patterns each place new demands on Aids to Navigation (AtoN) service providers. It is recognised that the widespread reliance on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) as the primary means of position fixing has encouraged some mariners to navigate in areas where, and under conditions in which, they had not previously ventured - for example, close inshore, at night and in reduced visibility. More generally, the recognized vulnerabilities of GNSS to interference must be taken into consideration when determining future AtoN provision."


Getting run down by the Normandy Ferry doing 40 knots approaching Poole is not the only risk. Increasing concern is being expressed about the vulnerability of Global Positioning Systems to jamming activities by terrorists and criminals. In this electronic era, it is comforting for yachtsmen to know that "lighthouses, buoys and beacons will continue to play a vital role in the balanced AtoN mix".  But the Radio Navigation Policy spells out the alternative to GPS - eLoran.  eLoran is increasingly seen as an important terrestrial alternative to GPS, and given the (over) reliance on GPS and it's vulnerability to attack, eLoran development is strikingly important. And the continuing develoopment of AIS as an aid to safe navigation is also central to the strategy.

The document sets out some interesting trends. Convergence between national and international regulators, increasing size of shipping (Triple-E class vessels 400 metres long and 73 metres high will be introduced by Maersk in 2013), newer container ships with state-of-the-art bridge systems, widespread reliance on Satellite Navigation, the growth of Traffic Management Schemes, and the growth of LED arrays and lights, growth of offshore wind farms are all considered as background trends for future development.

The context to future development is set out clearly:

• Visual AtoN will not be the primary means of position fixing in the majority of situations;

• Visual aids to navigation will continue to have an important role in hazard warning, spatial awareness and confirmation of position;

• There will be a continuing requirement for visual AtoNs in the e-Navigation era;

• There is a need to respond to the increased level of background lighting and "rival" lights;


• Increasing congestion in some areas is making greater demands on AtoN.

And the Strategic Plan itself is set out in a beautifully simple five point plan:

• Exploiting developments in light sources (especially LEDs) to improve the performance and cost effectiveness of visual AtoN;

• Use the most efficient means of generating optical gain to deliver the required

• performance;

• Modelling the properties of visual AtoN to select appropriate solutions for enhancing conspicuity, taking into account atmospheric conditions and background lighting;

• Continuing a common, justified approach to service levels for visual AtoN; and

• Contributing to continuing national and international discussions on the development of visual AtoN, their deployment and measurement.

The full documents can be downloaded here and are well worth reading.

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