October 3, 2014

Some words about buoy safety

To use a buoy gives a sense of safety. Are you sure?

The Croatian sailing magazine Nautica Portal wanted to know the truth, and therefore asked all Port Authorities of Croatia questions regarding safety inspections of the licensed Anchorages.
Moorings in U.Soline - Pasman                                      Photos: Nautica Portal
The official answers were confident. The Port Authority of Rijeka claimed that "all parts of our licensed Anchorages are monitored annually, even though the Croatian Register of Shipping issued a permanent certificate of mooring equipment, which includes underwater part of the anchorage". A similar response came from the Port Authority of Sibenik, they stated that monitoring is done once a year, "according to the regulations on the provision of navigational safety inspection in accordance with the Concession Agreement (which defines the basic conditions that must be met by the concessionaire)".

Okay, but, if everything is perfect, why do we commonly find mooring blocks in catastrophic state, inadequate thickness of the rope, too small distance between the buoys and roll-over mooring blocks?
Moorings in U.Soline - Pasman            Photos: Nautica Portal
Now, this is where official Croatia hides, but "Nautica Portal" had an informal conversation with a safety inspector who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the topic. According to this source, the problem starts at the very beginning: "Granting concessions for anchorages is under the jurisdiction of county and local governments, and the given practice is: 'Anything Goes'. Once the concessions is granted, control is almost impossible since there is no prescribed standard that would work for all anchorage concessions equally. And since there is no standard, but just a bunch of insufficiently clear instructions and lots of anarchy, each concessionaire interprets the rules as it suits him". Furthermore, the source said, that "Safety inspection of anchorages currently does not work. We simply do not have enough manpower or boats for that. And on the coast, there are only three or four hydrographic inspectors authorized experts for such controls". 

Well, it seems that the informal answers slightly differ from the official ones...

Finally it should be said, that despite poor control and anarchy in the process of granting concessions and safety inspections of anchorages, most concessionaires adequately maintain their anchorages and strives to provide quality service to boaters and safe mooring. But unfortunately there are some, who do not care... So, be aware!

Read the full articles from Nautica Portal here and here.