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.


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