Popular Tripper Boat Could Be Sold Over Mooring Rules

The Seahorse

The popular St Mary’s Boatmen’s Association tripper boat, The Seahorse, will be taken out of service and sold after it’s owner said he doesn’t have the stomach to fight an unexpected MCA prohibition notice.

Stephen Hicks was served with papers on Saturday following an undercover visit in August.

The agency isn’t happy with using open hooks on mooring lines and of keeping the boat alongside a jetty by use of a single backspring, with the boat’s engine running ahead.

Both these are contrary to their rules, they say.

Stephen says he designed and built the boat about 15 years ago to operate like that and it’s not practical to use in any other way.

From Radio Scilly

Listen to this week’s Harbour Report from Radio Scilly with a discussion on The Seahorse

Stephen feels that the proposed solution of using multiple mooring ropes would be too demanding of crew in securing the boat and would present difficulties in preventing passengers from getting off while that was being arranged.

He says he could fight the prohibition but it is a long and expensive process and he wouldn’t be able to operate the vessel during that period.

He says the Boatmen spent two years and £2.5m improving boat safety, as requested, in 1995.

Stephen says he’s spent his entire career on the water, 18 years on the tripper boats and 20 years, since leaving school, as a seafarer.

The Boatmen’s Association say they are saddened by his decision.

Stephen is concerned that the rules may be applied to other operators. The MCA’s Fiona Warren said all passenger boat operators are fully aware of these requirements, as this has been brought to their attention many times over the past few years.


7 Responses to Popular Tripper Boat Could Be Sold Over Mooring Rules

  1. Tony Brown September 13, 2012 at 10:44 am

    As a regular visitor to Scilly for over fifty years and a professional mariner myself, I begin to wonder what the jobsworth of the MCA can come up with next. Have they nothing better to do than add bureaucratic obstacles to a system that has worked very well over the years? Now wonder Steve is not the only member of the Boatrman’s Association who is wondering about the future in the islands. Sadly, a petition will do nothing if the MCA has it in their collective heads to carry out this action – a fighting fund to help him oppose the decision would be more appropriate.

  2. daro fenton September 10, 2012 at 10:45 am

    I’d love to know exactly what qualifications especially Seafaring Tickets this jobsworth has,in order to come to this decision ? .how many years of his life has he spent at sea and how many of those years spent at sea were spent in Scillonian Waters ?
    Scillonian Boatman are among the Finest in the World ,they know the Islands and Inlets better than anyone on the Planet i’d trust my life to all of them ,
    This decision MUST be reversed NOW !!

  3. Rod and Kate September 9, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Unbelievable. Losing the helicopter may be one thing, but now we’re talking about one of the islanders that has fallen foul of a jobsworth. Every year we take trips with the Seahorse and never have we felt unsafe or that the crew did’nt have your interests at heart. We would suggest that the MCA give their heads a shake.

  4. Ann September 8, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    I suspect a petition in Scilly against this decision would raise 2000 signatures.

  5. JeffEastick September 8, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Absolute travesty. Been operating safely for 15 years and integral part of the visit to Scilly. Has the MCA nothing better to do ? Fight it , Steve.

    • IanT September 9, 2012 at 8:34 am

      I expect the MCA Jobsworth had to justify his ‘jolly’ to the Isles and poor Steve was the victim. Surely the Seahorse isn’t the only boat using this procedure. I seem to remember this as quite common especially at Carn Near on certain tides but then I’m not a boatman.

  6. Stavropol September 6, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Very sad day. Will the mindless juggernaut that is bureaucracy know now bounds. Unfortunately the fools that wrote this letter escaped the public sector cuts, one hopes they are not so lucky soon.
    All the best Steve, may your future winds blow fair and warm.