"Hold On... Can't Go Yet... May I Borrow A Pen?"
The following isn't an aviation story in the strictest sense...
but if you plan on any recreation along the coast of England, make
sure you notify the authorities well in advance if you expect to
Britain's 400 affected coastguard units now face time-consuming
paperwork before they're allowed to take their specially-equipped
Land Rovers out on distress calls.
The Daily Mail reports the 'vehicle pre-journey risk assessment'
forms include four questions about the nature of the mission; an
explanation of the reason for the journey; details of any risks
involved, including current and forecast weather; and planned steps
to mitigate risks. A leader must then answer a yes/no question
about whether the risk is acceptable.
As might be imagined, the 3,200 rescue workers affected are
outraged at the latest in what's being called a string of health
and safety rulings recently issued by the Maritime and Coastguard
Agency, which also employs a fleet of search-and-rescue
One coastguard commented, "When we were first told about this,
we simply couldn't believe it. When we get a call asking us to go
out and rescue someone, we need to go there without delay... do
they expect us to get a full weather forecast before we go out? Do
they really want us to find out what the traffic conditions will
"The impression we get is that the bosses are doing everything
they can to make sure their hands are legally clean if there is any
kind of problem."
This isn't the first recent case of red-tape-gone-wild. In
November, the Department for Transport told coastguards they must
start using torches for nighttime search and rescue, because flares
might injure someone.
The Mail reports that in August, a three-man coastguard crew
from Devon was disciplined because they rescued a 13-year-old girl
150 yards off shore using a boat that had not been passed by health
and safety officials.
ANN has been unable to confirm that officials from the US
Transportation Security Administration are studying the Brits' new
rules for fresh ideas.