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Old 08-01-2009, 03:30   #16
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I have seen so many negatives on the coast watch, for me its all positive. I sailed from Darwin to Perth and the only person out there to help if you ran into trouble was the coast watch. I didn't see another boat for over a month! Although I never needed assistance it was good to know someone would come past within the next 48/72 hours. Whilst in King George River I heard them assist some poor yachty having trouble whilst rounding Cape Londonderry, Coast Watch would have been the only people within radio range and I am sure that they appreciateded every bit of their assistance. So give them a break!!! they are only doing their job, even if you disagree, at least give the correct information and stop wasting their professional efforts.
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Old 08-01-2009, 04:06   #17
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Originally Posted by Tim88 View Post
I have seen so many negatives on the coast watch, for me its all positive. I sailed from Darwin to Perth and the only person out there to help if you ran into trouble was the coast watch. I didn't see another boat for over a month! Although I never needed assistance it was good to know someone would come past within the next 48/72 hours. Whilst in King George River I heard them assist some poor yachty having trouble whilst rounding Cape Londonderry, Coast Watch would have been the only people within radio range and I am sure that they appreciateded every bit of their assistance. So give them a break!!! they are only doing their job, even if you disagree, at least give the correct information and stop wasting their professional efforts.
Tim88, Unlike you I go sailing to get away from bureaucracy. I leave port equipped with sound gear and experience, with the knowledge that I'm embarking on a totally selfish pursuit. I'm not earning a living from the sea but are sailing for my own reasons and therefore have no right to expect Joe taxpayer to look after me if things turn pear-shaped.
I object to Walters in planes regularly flying over at what appears to mast top height unannounced scaring the bejesus out of us. You wouldn't put up with that at home, why the heck would you put up with that on a boat (that is your home)?. May I suggest that if one finds this reassuring they must be very low on self confidence.
Like coast-watch offering assistance to yachties in trouble , I would be the first to offer a coast watch crew assistance if they happened require it.
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Old 08-01-2009, 05:08   #18
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I am a member of the local voluntary Coastal Patrol (just as an end user, not a volunteer), and would recommend anyone to support them. They provide a valuable community service and I have no doubt save quite a few lives in the process. I give them a donation each year in addition to my membership fees.

Logging in when you go on a trip is optional, but once you do they are obligated by regulation to initiate a search if you don't report in. I mostly do not log in, but if conditions turned nasty I would.

By joining as a member for less than $30 per year your boat details and contacts stay on file, so they don't need to be repeated each time. I was asked for them on one occasion and when I reminded them that they were on file they accepted it fine. The hand-off to the next branch also seems to work fine.

I did have occasion to use their free towing service once when the key sheared on the propshaft and the channel home is impossible under sail.

As for being buzzed and questioned in remote areas, I see that as a minor trade-off in keeping our borders a little safer. From what I read and hear the intrusion is usually peaceful and friendly unlike some other parts of the world.
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Old 08-01-2009, 05:51   #19
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....gee what a load of ......you have no obligation to participate in any of the volunteer tracking systems whilst in Australian waters. NONE.

You dont want the hassle ...dont do it...

But dont bag it...and participate. It is silly. There is no statuary requirement for you to participate.....so dont.

Unless you want to be tracked. if that is the case, be polite and except that fact that it is an imperfect volunteer set up run by people who may have never been off shore. Who may be a little bit more "official" than what is nessesary.....

But stop your whining.....if you dont do the work and its there as a free service for your safety.....SHOULD YOU CARE TO USE IT...........................................
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Old 08-01-2009, 06:20   #20
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I am not going to buy into this argument - but for our non australian viewers, the Australian Coastguard (of which I am a volunteer) is not the same as the US Coastguard. Coastguard in Australia is the same at VMR (Volunteer Marine Rescue) Coastal Patrol and etc, all volunteer self funding (in the main) organisations that exist to provide a service to the fellow boaties, there is no obligation to use their services it is your choice, I sometmes do, but I appreciate the fact that there is some bloke/lady volunteering his/her time.

Coastwatch on the other hand is an off shoot of the Australian Customs Service - one of the great fascist organisations on this planet. However, they purport to serve a useful purpose by stopping all those boats illegally landing in the area of Breaksea spit off fraser island

Just thought it was worth explaining that local difference with the coastguard.
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Old 08-01-2009, 11:10   #21
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Well if you want to participate, and don't want to repeat - just record all of your info on a portable recorder, hit play, and grab a beer. Or just don't participate at all. No big deal really. I preference being untracked. If my wreckage floats ashore, I'm sure they'll figure out I'm currently enjoying the confines of a sharks belly....
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Old 08-01-2009, 12:37   #22
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I was watching one of those aussie marine patrol prgrams the other night.I was shocked.A slob skipper,a medical disaster because of his chosen lifestyle,loaded his sailboat with people and motored off the coast.He anchored and they fished.He failed to isolate his starting battery.When they wanted to go home he couldnt start the engine,couldnt get the anchor up,and he was the only one who knew how to sail and he was unfit to do so.So he called for help and three cops and a police boat spent half the afternoon and evening rescuing them.The weather was good.It looked like the skipper would suffer no penalty.I think this sort of thing is happening all over.Are we all to be dumbed down and regulated because of this kind of performance?
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Old 08-01-2009, 18:08   #23
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Just to reiterate what several posters have said:

The Aussie Coastguard is a volunteer system that looks after local boaters and any boats that transit their area. There is not a continuous coverage right around the coast. It is entirely optional to participate in their services.

My experience is that they rescue some complete dunderheads; they once towed me home after steering quadrant failure. I don’t think I was a dunderhead at the time but perhaps…….By the way they don’t charge for any service that I am aware of. In my one experience of assistance, I happily made a donation towards their operating costs although they assured me it wasn’t necessary.

Coastwatch is part of the Customs service (subcontracted to private companies) and while they do an essential service, they can be over the top and very intrusive at times.

I don’t mind giving them my details and information over the radio once or even twice but I find it very inconsiderate (even offensive) to asked over and over again to provide the same information when clearly they already have the information. My most generous interpretation is that they use yachts for training purposes and perhaps that being sub-contractors, they have a high turn over of observers in the aircraft.
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