View Full Version : Hovercraft rescue

jar2 - n/a
29-Jul-07, 08:23 AM
Just watched in amazement this article on News24!

CLICK HERE (news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6920932.stm)

hint: look for the hovercraft!

I (and many others) have offered our craft to the emergency services for over a week now - and they go and import a hovercraft from Turin in Italy! Does anyone know how the these guys make their decisions - it seems totally bizarre! Maybe we don't have the correct colour plastic hats or something http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_biggrin.gif

erbus - n/a
29-Jul-07, 03:07 PM
..... its so sad really, i would have thought the hovercraft would be an excellent tool in an urban environment.

quite typical of the authorities not to accept help even when it was desperatly required ...

i suspect it was because most hover folk dont have the appropriate 'rescue training' and this made them baulk at the prospect of 3rd party claims etc.

... could have even been you dont carry a cosh assesment for the onboard petrol...

its sad times we live in...

Ian Brooks - n/a
29-Jul-07, 03:12 PM
I sat all week looking at the constant stream of helicopters boats and flashing lights, and my craft sat on the drive unused! I did offer assistance but got no "call up". Heigh ho.


Jeremy - n/a
30-Jul-07, 06:39 AM
I suspect that liability insurance is part of the problem. Years ago I used to be a member of a caving club that provided a volunteer cave and mountain rescue service. The club had a lot of rescue equipoment, including a dedicated rescue Land Rover, specialist medical kit etc. We were not allowed to leave the clubhouse on a rescue without specific authorisation from the Fire Brigade for each and every individual incident.

The reason given to me for this was that if an official body sanctioned, even by inaction, a volunteer rescue organisation or individual, then the authorities could be liable in the event of anything going wrong.


Kipmac - n/a
30-Jul-07, 11:08 AM
Jeremy, Your last sentence is unfortunately so true.

This was the major problem ASRH had in the early days and caused major frustration.

All rescue authorities as a general rule will not use individuals or groups they do not recognise as qualified.

This truly is the world we have created for ourselves, where generous caring citizens are not able to help each other anymore.

When I rule the world Health and Safety will be the first to go and maybe then we will get back to normality and possibly less accidents and a few more lives saved??

Grumpy Old Man, Kip

Russ Pullen - n/a
30-Jul-07, 06:36 PM
When I rule the world


Jeremy - n/a
30-Jul-07, 06:56 PM
It's bizarre, this liability thing and is purely a product of a culture where SOMEONE always has to cop the blame for everything.

Microlighting is going through this big time at the moment, as a result of a legal case where a volunteer inspector is being prosecuted for double manslaughter (does the HCGB have protection for it's scrutineers?, Do they understand their personal legal liability risks?).

Single seat microlights have just been deregulated, leaving it the responsibility of the individual owner to ensure that they are safe. The people with 30 years experience of looking after the technical issues, the Tech Office at the BMAA, cannot provide any advice to members as if they do they may become liable in the event of an accident. How crazy is that?

I know of a legal case where a mechanic lent over his neighbours fence to give advice to the neighbour on changing his brake pads. The neighbour got it wrong, the brakes subsequently failed and the mechanic was prosecuted for gross negligence manslaughter.

All we are doing with this culture is breeding numpties, as no one will be prepared to pass on hard-won experience and knowledge for fear of prosecution if it all goes wrong. I foresee that we'll evolve back to living in caves, which may be the only way we get rid of the lawyers................


Even grumpier old man..............

Ian Brooks - n/a
30-Jul-07, 07:14 PM
It is ridiculous - and the point about scrutineering is real. It would be sensible if there needed to be an exchange of money in order to establish liability, along with an understanding that if you didn't pay for it, then you retain responsibility for it. I hate all this ... "no win no fee" ... "it's always someone elses fault" ...


Jeremy - n/a
31-Jul-07, 06:34 AM
The potential liability problem is an odd one in many ways. I've had occassion to be deeply embroiled in the BMAA Inspector liability issue over the past couple of years and have been exposed directly to a fair bit of contact with lawyers as a result. As far as I can see, there are a few points worth noting (these are just my views, not a legal opinion):

1) If an inspection or certification is carried out by what a court might reasonably interpret as a "competent" individual, then that individual carries a duty of care to perform his duties to the standard that might "normally" be expected. The law does not define either "competent" or "normal". In the vast majority of cases, this is left for a jury to determine, based on the evidence presented.

2) MOT certificates and testing are often quoted as examples of why an inspector cannot be found liable. This is a red herring, as the law surrounding MOTs is unique and provides a degree of protection to the inspector that doesn't exist elsewhere, as far as I know.

3) Any body that sets itself up as an "authority" can expect to become liable to some extent for whatever it is that it seeks to represent, support, promote or regulate. It makes no difference if the body is a company or a voluntary association.

4) The standard of proof in court for a non-criminal claim, such as damages, is lower than for a criminal charge. Instead of the jury needing to believe "beyond reasonable doubt" they only need to believe "on the balance of probabilities".

5) These cases always involve issues surrounding what duty of care can reasonably be expected in each individual case. It's relatively easy with minority adventure sports to put a spin on this in court and make things seem dangerous. The chances are a jury will have little or no specific knowledge, so they may be swayed by arguments about the dangers that should "obviously" have been avoidable.

Ironically, the more effort put in to regulate by an association, the more likely it will be that the association will be seen by a court as being a competent regulator, which will lead to an expectation of greater responsibility passing to it. This is a double edged sword - if the association gets it 100% right then all is well, if it doesn't then it might have been better for it to appear less competent!

The US have dealt with this problem by introducing a law that limits the liability of volunteers in recreational activities (the Volunteer Protection Act 1997). An MP here tried to get a similar law introduced here a while ago but failed.

This is a topic that you only tend to get interested in once you are affected. I did not renew my BMAA inspectors ticket two years ago, as I personally find the liability too much to bear.


Kipmac - n/a
31-Jul-07, 08:17 AM

In your case tremble would be more appropriate.

You just have to have a dig!!

Please ignore me and I will willingly reciprocate.


Russ Pullen - n/a
1-Aug-07, 07:53 PM

bram - n/a
10-Aug-07, 02:24 PM
had same thing, had hovercraft ready to use we had floods 2 miles away and in evesham 5 miles away there was serious water. didn't really know if i could help anyway but felt any attempt to turn up and help would have been refused. oh well their loss!!

Russ Pullen - n/a
10-Aug-07, 03:37 PM
In all honesty, if they were dumb enough to accept the naive and wildly optimistic offer of help from the average hovercraft enthusiast, matters would only get worse.

Can you imagine amateurs turning up in unsuitable, race-derived craft with insufficient bouyancy, poor water resistance, no lifejackets etc etc. Standing up in god-knows-what conditions to yank a pull-start "Hang on, just got to fuel her up again mate - got any two stroke oil?" "Don't s'pose you've got a plug spanner?" Constantly spraying everything with water and unable to carry enough to make the journey worthwhile becuase otherwise it won't go over hump....

It is of course a worthy suggestion that hovers could be of help, but th erelaity would be very different. Having said which, I've no doubt larger, well sorted craft such as John's would be effective. But as the RNLI told me once, they've tried using hovercraft before 'but they always break down' , so its extremely unlikely that any amateur organisation will be called on to assist.

hectorshouse46 - n/a
10-Aug-07, 05:38 PM
I know I'm biased but Sevtec type craft could have a role to play. The Vangaurd I recently finished has positive floatation, fixed VHF radio carries full safety equipment and so far has been totally reliable. I am not long back from the Cromarty firth where I did a modest 40 miles, carried three adults and safety equipment and only used two gallons of fuel All this out of a 23hp/14' hovercraft.

As has been said before the issue of insurance and liabilty, training and suitable craft get in the way. Had hovercraft been around when I was a child this would not have been the case, folks just got stuck in and helped the best they could. Perhaps some private hover enthusiasts could get themselves trained up, their craft approved and registered with the powers that be. Then if they are needed they could be called out to help. I don't suppose this will ever actually happen but you never know. Woaw !!! was a pig flying past the window !!!!!!!!

Regards to all

Steve H

10-May-09, 12:54 PM
Hi my name`s David Beard I'm a trustee of ASRHGB (asrh-gb.com) we were ready to assist contacted ever one from the prime minister's office at the RSPCA the latter were the only one`s to answer but declined our offer we had two osprey 5 craft ready to go and a 3rd in reserve . We were desperate to help but to now avail . You can imagine how we felt when the italians arrived .