*
UK Coastguard VHF channel changes

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency rerminds mariners that from  6 September 2017, there were changes to some VHF channel numbers used to contact the UK Coastguard. 

The changes to Appendix 18 (Marine VHF) of the Radio Regulations mean that existing channels will no longer be used for either Maritime Safety Information (MSI) or Radio Medical Advice.

Previously, VHF channels 23, 84 and 86 are used for these two services.

But since 6 September 2017, the channels to use are VHF 62, 63 and 64.


 

Galicia Atlantic Destination conference

A report by Tom Fitzpatrick on the conference of the
European Congress of Nautical Tourism entitled
Galicia Atlantic Destination 

The above event took place on the 27th and 28th October and was organised by the Monte Real Yacht Club of Baiona.   As our Commodore was unavailable I happily filled the slot to represent the ICC.   Of the 21 European clubs invited, a total of eight came from Ireland and this I suspect arises from the huge local impact made by the 2017 ICC Galician cruise so successfully organised by Peter Haden and his committee.   The Congress was run from the Parador Hotel.   We were looked after very well by our hosts and the Congress documentation was excellent.

The start of the Conference was a line-up of heavyweight speakers, including the Head of Galician Tourism, the President of the Ports, the Mayor of Baiona, and finally the President of the Baiona Yacht Club.   The essential message was that considerable investment has been made in recent years in marinas and infrastructure but they are now planning, in a coordinated way, to encourage more nautical tourism and thereby contribute to economic development.

The basic outline of Galicia is there are 1700 kilometres of coastline with 128 clubs. The port authority was set up in 1980 and in that time it has built 16 kilometres of protective piers, 20,000 metres of pontoons and has the responsibility for 5m acres of water and 3m acres of land.   Today there are 16,000 boats in Galicia of which 4,000 are in marinas.   The boats in transit number 8,000 and the Port Authority wants to provide quality facilities for them and to grow this number.  Every year there are many boats from Northern Europe passing the Galician coastline on the way to the Mediterranean and only some stop in La Coruña or Baiona for re-provisioning.   They want to encourage this passing trade to take time out to cruise the Rias – and hopefully some of them might make a permanent base there.

The workshop was an interactive session with delegates.  It was run by Oscar Calero, the manager of Baiona Yacht Club, who is a young man with an MBA and is well experienced in running these kind of events.   The themes – were charting the course, and the expectations of sailors.   We will be supplied in due course with the results of our deliberations but in general our views can be summarised simply as wanting a friendly and efficient service at a reasonable price.

One suggestion from the floor was to encourage an international charter company to set up and provide the opportunity for more sailors to cruise the Rias.  This would also promote the Rias a wonderful area to enjoy.   Another view, well echoed, was that the Rias offered so much to sailors that there was just a need to tell the story.

The working day finished at 1930hrs and was followed by a very pleasant dinner in the Baiona Yacht Club with some short speeches and tie/burgee presentations etc.

Saturday was really tough!  It included a bus tour to a ferry in Ria del Arousa and a cruise to the Island of Salvora, which is now a protected area.   Eventually we got back to Baiona and that evening enjoyed a reception hosted by the City Council in the offices of the Maritime department.   

On a personal note I found it refreshing to witness the engagement of Galician officialdom in sailing matters – in stark contrast to the abysmal lack of interest shown by the government and local authorities in most of Ireland.