Thanks to the many of you who have contributed here. Some 187 posts later, many of them actual incident reports, the problem is clearly not going away.

However, concern is one thing but getting that to translate across to any means of action is another. That is especially so when incidents caused by collision with flotsam and jetsam or fouling by rubbish and fishing gear are so rarely getting thrown up in MCA and RNLI figures. It tends to suggest that most occurences are getting dealt with by owners themselves and via the assistance of non-lifeboat tows, commercial yards and private divers. Statistically, the problem doesn't exist, so it is hardly likely to get looked at by government. That is the problem the RYA faces when being asked to challenge the status quo.

For that reason the RYA is now encouraging boatowners to start filing incident reports on the confidential system run by the charitable UK Confidential Human Factors Incident Reporting Programme, or CHIRP for short. This organisation was founded in the early 1980s to serve the aviation industry, but launched a maritime programme in July of last year with the assistance of government funding. Although weighted heavily towards commercial interests, the advisory board includes Steve Johnson, the RYA's Cruising Manager and Nick Parker of the British Marine Federation.

You can read more about CHIRP by , which is a little quirky but contains some useful background if you want to understand who you might be offering your reports to. We are now also hosting the relevant reporting form on This form looks a little daunting at first but only if you pay too much attention to the questions asking whether you are a captain or chief engineer and whether you serve on a tanker or cargo ship. You can access it at <A target="_blank" HREF=>

At the moment CHIRP has received barely more than a handful of reports covering fouling and collision incidents, so any new feedback will raise this matter further up the agenda, or perhaps at least put it on the table.

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