Boating is not all plain sailing


Madam, - Iva Pocock's otherwise excellent article (August 1st) needs to be a little more balanced. Sailing and boating are as safe or safer than most other participation sports. If this was not the case our insurance premiums would be prohibitive, which they are not.

Yes, accidents do happen at sea but usually they do not involve members of recognised sailing, angling or diving clubs or the training organisations associated with the various sports.

It was disingenuous to introduce Cabin Fever and the dramatic description of beach debris and human trauma into the article. Cabin Fever was a commercial vessel with a professional qualified crew operating off our Atlantic west coast.

This marine accident will be subject to the appropriate Department of the Marine inquiry and has nothing what so ever to do with the subject of the article, basic sail training for beginners.

The article does mention the fact that of the 62 accidental drownings last year, 39 were alcohol related but it does not say how many were drowned due to swimming in the wrong place, drownings as the result of commercial fishing accidents or simply driving off the end of a pier.

I would agree that one drowning per year is a drowning too many but with the training that is provided by the sporting organisations, common sense and proper precautions exercised by the participants, sailing is a safe, enjoyable and healthy sport.

We are an island nation with over 4,000 miles of coast and a further 168,000 hectares of inland waterways.

Boating activity should be second nature to us but due to poor access and lack of awareness, this national asset is underutilised.

It would be better to promote the obvious benefits of our access to the sea, the healthy recreation available to all, the fun and enjoyment that can be gained while at the same time reminding us that without taking proper precautions it can sometimes be dangerous, but then so can crossing the road or falling off a horse. - Yours etc.,

STEVE CONLON, Irish Marine Federation, The Coach House, Killarney Lane, Bray.