Marine Scotland Coastal & Marine Recreation Survey

MARINE SCOTLAND SURVEY – please fill it in and make sure that coastal rowing is put/kept on the Scottish Government’s radar!!! I have done one on behalf of the club, but individual responses are needed too. Prizes to be won …

Marine Scotland’s first national survey of coastal &
marine recreation. Take our survey:

Marine Scotland is launching its first national survey of tourism and recreation around the Scottish coast and seas. It covers a vast array of activities and tourism businesses in, on or next to the sea.

By telling us who does what and where, the survey will help
ensure future plans reflect Scotland’s unique opportunities for
activities such as kayaking, sailing, wildlife watching or simply
playing about with a frisbee on the beach. It will help recreation be
appropriately recognised in the planning process, providing the kind of
information needed to be considered alongside other activities like
shipping, off-shore renewables and fish farming. It will also help
justify and guide future investment in facilities and infrastructure.

Everyone who completes the survey will have the opportunity to enter a free prize draw with prizes that include:

* a short break in one of Scottish Canals’ holiday cottages
* Spa Day Experience for two guests at Portavadie’s new Spa
* Family tickets for Inveraray Jail and Inveraray Castle
* Two Return Tickets for the Kintyre Express fast passenger ferry
from Campbeltown to Ballycastle in Northern Ireland

The survey is online until 31st October 2015.

You can complete the survey as an individual or on behalf of a club,
association or other organisation.

Please forward it to your friends, members or anyone else you think might be interested.

There is a separate survey for businesses involved in marine recreation and tourism. If you are interested in completing this survey, please click:

Melfort Muster 30/31 May

We have invited Luing and Kilmelford to join us for a picnic on an island at the head of Loch Melfort – equidistant from all three clubs. There is a wee beach, enough room for three/four skiffs only.

If there are more than five folk wanting to go, we can organise a crew change from the accompanying launch. Choice of dates to give more flexibility re weather.

STOP PRESS: A very successful day out with Hinba, and SO lucky with the weather! We managed a litter-pick on Eilean Gamhna as well as a picnic in the sun. Thanks to James and George H for providing/crewing the Orkney launch. [Photos on the Seil skiff facebook page].

VHF Radio cover

The following statement was read out by Tony Hill, of Seafari Adventures, at the community council meeting last night. Please be aware of it’s contents, particularly as there is no mobile signal here on Seil. The skiff does, of course, always carry a VHF radio.

>>>>>> Statement VHF Radio
Many will be aware that despite the request by Seafari to keep our petrol tank application focussed on planning issues the objectors reported Seafari to numerous council departments and government agencies. One of those government agencies was Ofcom, the regulator for radio communications which includes marine radio use. An inspector visited us in Easdale.

The enforcement officer acknowledged that by listening in to Channel 16 the Seafari Ticket Office and Seafari accommodation houses had alerted and summoned staff to man boats in order to assist others at sea. This occurred on 5 separate occasions in the past 2 seasons. The most poignant local case being that of Scott MacAlister. Our office summoned Steve Patterson and our crew from their respective houses, a boat was launched and despite being given incorrect directions by Stornoway Coastguard it arrived first on scene approximately 20 minutes ahead of Oban lifeboat.

The enforcement officer acknowledged that many remote communities have similar arrangements offering increased unofficial safety cover. As Seafari had been reported to Ofcom, national protocols are to be followed. Neither location nor support to the local community can be considered.

At a financial cost equivalent to just 6 passengers, Seafari now operates its radios on a private marine VHF channel. All communications are exclusive to Seafari. We seek support from Seil Community Council to inform the local boating community that the Seafari bases will no longer be listening in to either Channel 16 or Channel 77. Channel 16 can be used to alert others in the area to boats experiencing difficulties, Channel 77 was used particularly by local leisure craft who left details of their intended day or to inform, or update, those ashore. Channel 77 also provided general communication cover for activities such as Seil Coastal Rowing and local sea kayak operators.

Seafari vessels will continue to listen to Channel 16 when at sea but our vessels spend the majority of their time away from Easdale, a recognised difficult corner on any sea passage. Our ticket office will no longer react to local incidents as it will be unaware of radio traffic. Seafari has in the past (4 occasions in 2 years) quietly assisted Stornoway Coastguard preventing the launch of Oban Lifeboat.

Tourism is the lifeblood of Seil and Easdale. Our local sea is the area’s greatest asset. The safety of both locals and visitors whilst at sea is important to us. Oban lifeboat is the recognised assistance at a response time of approximately 30 minutes. Seafari accepts the actions of the objectors were correct to the letter of the law. The outcome has not affected Seafari operational procedures but Seafari management and skippers wish to make known that, in their opinion, the action taken by the objectors were not in the best interests of the local community.

Plans for 2015

Have a look at the regatta schedule on the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association (SCRA) website, and decide if you would like to take part in any of the events listed (not all are competitive regattas!). Let Sue know soonest of your druthers.

We have a mini-event ourselves on 31 May, with local clubs only – the Melfort Muster (not a regatta). The plan is for Kilmelfort, Luing and ourselves to row to an equidistant island at the head of the loch and have a picnic/BBQ.

Isle of Mull has invited us to the launch of their second skiff at Ulva Ferry on 25 April, with or without Selkie.

Selkie at Balvicar

Selkie is now based at Balvicar Boatyard for the rest of the season, thanks to Mike McSweeney.

She will move down closer to the slipway when the yachts/bigger boats have been launched. Please park inside the second gate, on the right, and keep well out of the way of working machinery etc. Make sure that you shut all gates behind you.


Thanks to all who supported the Burns Night supper in any way – it was a good night out and we raised about £180 which will help to replace our lifejackets for the coming season.

Burns supper 006

Burns supper 004

The next social occasion is the Seil Panto on 31 January, in which Selkie plays a star part! Tickets from Balvicar Stores, £5, or on the door.

Panto 006

AGM brief report

There was a good turnout in the T&T for the AGM last night. George Hannah stood down as convener and Sue Fenton was elected in his place. Louise Wilson remains as treasurer with Dawn Singleton (Hill) as the other office bearer. Dr George, Ewan Kennedy and Nick Bowles make up the management committee with Helen Glennie as minutes secretary.

We hope to have a Burns Supper for 24 January; pipers, musicians and toast-makers needed! Watch this space …

Selkie will shortly be berthed at Balvicar Boatyard, courtesy of Mike and Steven McSweeney.


What a glorious day for our ‘Try a Row’ day! We took out eight new rowers in total, two of whom were actually waiting for a Sealife trip and were press-ganged! We hope to see some of you out with us again.

The skiff is now on the grass below Fasgadh, David Foster’s house, where she will be for a wee while. Our grateful thanks to David’s family for helping us out. Boating is possible from mid tide – anything below that and the launching trailer gets stuck in thixatropic mud!! Parking available in Fasgadh (mind the skip). The ‘fridge’ is no longer – everything is stored either in the skiff or at Polldoran next door.

And of course, very many thanks go to Nick & Bette Hunter for allowing us to keep the skiff by the Oban Seil Farm pontoon for two seasons (and for the space to build it in the first place!!)