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Poorly marked fishing gear and small craft safety an article from the RYA

"Fishing gear, which poses a hazard to navigation because it cannot be readily seen, has been a concern to boaters for many years and it has been on the RYA’s agenda for just as long. There is no simple solution to the problem, but the RYA is keen to ensure that as much as possible is done to ensure the safety of small craft navigating in the vicinity of static fishing gear.

The RYA wants to achieve better marking of static fishing gear, making it visible by day and at night. 

The RYA have relaunched its fishing gear entanglement reporting service with a simple to complete electronic form in an attempt to collate quantitative data to support boaters concern."


Even though our vessels conform to high safety standards and Sail Training vessel sea staff are encouraged towards good seamanship, accidents do happen. They may involve other vessels or things out of our control. ASTO encourages member vessels and staff to share any incidents so that others can learn from them. Reading past accident reports may stop you getting into a similar situation.

To this end we have published links to the Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme (CHIRP), the Nautical Institute's MARS (Mariners' Alerting and Reporting Scheme) and the MAIB.

Please note that certain incidents must be reported to the MAIB.


MAIB - Marine Accident Investigation Branch

Detailed guidance is available on what types of incidents need to be reported to the MAIB. Below is an extract from the MAIB website: 

'To fulfil its primary role of improving safety of life at sea, it is essential that the MAIB investigates accidents immediately, before vital evidence decays, is removed or lost. To enable this the law requires that accidents, including serious injuries, be reported by the quickest means possible. The MAIB has a dedicated reporting line for this purpose: 023 8023 2527 from within the UK, or +44 23 8023 2527 if you are outside the UK. This line is manned 24 hours a day.'

MCA Guidance on what needs to be reported to MAIB

MAIB reporting

Latest MAIB Safety Digest - makes interesting reading and may prevent future accidents.


Reporting to CHIRP

This can be confidential and does not need to involve the vessel management if you prefer anonymity. Any published report will 'disidentify' the vessels and persons involved. CHIRP may follow up with other parties to try to make them aware of the situation. Good for sharing things others could learn from.

Reporting to CHIRP

Latest CHIRP feedback


Reporting to MARS

The Mariners' Alerting and Reporting Scheme is primarily a confidential reporting system run by The Nautical Institute to allow full reporting of accidents (and near misses) without fear of identification or litigation. As a free service to the industry, MARS reports also regularly comprise alerts condensed from official industry sources, so that issues resulting from recent incidents can be efficiently relayed to the mariner on board.

MARS has a Sail Training section that currently only includes reports from square rigged vessels.

Reporting to MARS

MARS Sail Training reports


Apart from the benefits for the Member Organisations, ASTO provide a range of benefits for you, the people actually working at the sharp end of Sail Training.

In this section there is information for full-time staff as well as those volunteering as watch leaders or hoping to become professional Sail Trainers.

Any full or part-time jobs will be advertised in the jobs section and also on the ASTO Sail Training jobs facebook page. You can apply for funding for professional qualifications and, if you’re under 25, you can get involved in the Youth Council.

Younger or less experienced volunteers can apply for International Exchanges. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the UK Sail Training facebook page and the for trainee places the UK Sail To Adventure Facebook page.

If there is anything else you think should be included in this section, please let us know via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.