Tuesday, 12 December 2006

'AA' job?

Life is mostly froth and bubble;
Two things stand like stone;
Kindness in another’s trouble
Courage in your own.

(Adam Lindsay Gordon)

In the winter months shouts are rare but tend to be more challenging when they arrive. During the spring and summer shouts are far more frequent but often, on the face of it, less significant.

It would be easy to fall into the trap of writing these shouts off as mere ‘AA’ jobs which we shouldn’t really be bothered with or that people should be charged for. Many is the time that a bystander has sneered as we come ashore and assumed that we must feel that it is a waste of our time to tow in speed boats that have run out of fuel.

However, nothing could be further from the truth. We would far rather tow someone in whilst their difficulty is relatively trifling, than wait until their difficulty has escalated into a more serious incident. Thankfully this is also the view of the Coastguard, who call upon our services before problems have become profound. In this way we tow in more broken down boats, than boats which have broken down, been adrift for 3 hours, been run down as it has got dark and then lost all of its occupants overboard. In other words, get there early before the problem grows.

This is not to say that people’s difficulties are not caused by stupidity or lack of planning. They frequently are. We believe that it is every bit as important to save others from their stupidity as from the elements. We volunteer solely to save life at sea, not to judge others for their mistakes.

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