Why does the coastguard do this?

Tranona

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You would have to assume the vessel needing assistance would know/ have the means to do this.

Not everyone are whizzes when it comes to arithmetic, whilst lat/long appears somewhere close to the 'on' page on a GPS.
If you have a chart plotter just select the mark as a waypoint and press GOTO
 

Daydream believer

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You would have to assume the vessel needing assistance would know/ have the means to do this.

Not everyone are whizzes when it comes to arithmetic, whilst lat/long appears somewhere close to the 'on' page on a GPS.
I have tried given my position as a bearing from an object. However, in all cases it has been ignored & they have requested lat,long. I just assume that the tick box only takes lat long. Plus most CG do not have a clue where they are. I have a suspicion that some may reply as, say, Dover but actually be transmitting from, say, Solent in times of pressure to assist another station
 

Daydream believer

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If you have a chart plotter just select the mark as a waypoint and press GOTO
But you have to be quick enough to enter direct- difficult on a plotter- or to write it down then copy to the plotter.
It is a bit like some answer phones. You do not actually know when/if they are going to give a position & may not be ready & get caught out.
 

Aja

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If you have a chart plotter just select the mark as a waypoint and press GOTO
I was thinking more of the smaller boat user who may be in a canoe or kayak or similar, in difficulty with everything at sea level and misty. Little chance of seeing features or recognising them. Even less chance of having a plotter.

The number of distress calls we hear are of smaller boats and kayaks in difficulty.

I accept that you are talking about the end user, but the problem the CG have is with the person requesting assistance.
 
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I would have thought most people would have their Lat : Long visible or at hand and if they were in the vicinity of the transmitted Lat : Long could switch to a working Channel and establish if they could be of assistance. That always assumes that people understand what the numbers actually mean and can relate them to their position.
 

B27

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Can’t help thinking What Three Words would be useful here. Fish Spanner Monkey is a lot easier to remember than a two strings of numbers.

Edit: I mean in addition to lat/long, not replacing it, obviously.
But I've have not the foggiest idea where that is, or how far it is from womble chimp souffle.

I do know roughly what my longitude is, about 4 deg W, so I'll ignore anything less than 3.5 or more than 5 W.

Really it can't be that hard to put in a reality check of ' 3 miles offshore, 2 miles west of Folkestone or something?
I sail with someone who will often read out numbers in the wrong order, the A 386 might or might not be the A 368.
 

B27

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I would have thought most people would have their Lat : Long visible or at hand and if they were in the vicinity of the transmitted Lat : Long could switch to a working Channel and establish if they could be of assistance. That always assumes that people understand what the numbers actually mean and can relate them to their position.
I would think there are large numbers of small boats where that's not the case.
 

johnalison

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I have tried given my position as a bearing from an object. However, in all cases it has been ignored & they have requested lat,long. I just assume that the tick box only takes lat long. Plus most CG do not have a clue where they are. I have a suspicion that some may reply as, say, Dover but actually be transmitting from, say, Solent in times of pressure to assist another station
It is still worth giving your approximate position so that other vessels can assess the situation. There is no point in reporting a floating WW2 mine with nothing but lat & long and leaving other sailors to be at a loss as to whether they are at risk or not.
 

dunedin

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I would have thought most people would have their Lat : Long visible or at hand and if they were in the vicinity of the transmitted Lat : Long could switch to a working Channel and establish if they could be of assistance. That always assumes that people understand what the numbers actually mean and can relate them to their position.
I think the root issue is that many / most coast guard radio operators have no experience of being in a small boat - and neither, it seems, do the people who define their procedures. I have tried to raise this issue with some at MCA, and even suggested we try to take some key people out for a sail to aid their understanding - as yet to no avail.

Part of the issue is that use of Lat / Long for navigation is often no longer necessary. I tend to navigate asked upon landmarks - islands , headlands, buoys etc - and waypoints. I have cruised for 1,000 miles or so round the coastline without actually referring to Lat / Long. So it is not immediately recognisable if a Lat / Long on the radio is nearby or not (plus where I sail, a small difference as the crow flies, can be a day or more by boat if the other side of a land mass).
Yes I have multiple devices that show Lat long in detail - but if I hear something on the radio I, like the OP, probably won’t have time or means to write it down - and may have mis remembered a string of 10 digits or more.

Fortunately on a real MayDay where I was the only boat in the area, I realised that I could hear both sides of the mayday call - and being a kayak on a hand held VHF I knew he must be nearby. Hence I got a notepad and called the coastguard and asked for precise location. Meanwhile not one but two commercial vessels went past without responding - and the Coastguard could see them on AIS but didn’t try to call them via DSC to assist a very urgent rescue.
 

AntarcticPilot

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Attempting to write down a lat and long from a radio transmission has a strangely "being in an exam" feeling to it for some reason. Or is that just me?

It should not be very difficult to write a bit of software that takes a lat long and emits a standardised verbal description that is helpful a very high percentage of the time ("in" + [name of area polygon] + [x[ + "miles" + [compass point] + "of " [nearest landmark]). And, indeed, these days it might not be that hard to write one that turns a description into a likely coordinate either. Surely the CG have things like this?
Putting my GIS hat on, yes it's feasible but would be enormously labour intensive to set up (I did something related to this for Antarctica; I have spent MANY man-months on it (see A placename geography for Antarctica - NERC Open Research Archive)). There's also issues about which side of peninsulae and islands you are, not to mention reefs and sandbanks. And, of course, the issues already mentioned about duplicate names to which I'll add names in multiple languages - Welsh, Irish and Gaelic are all possibilities in the UK!

All this is potentially solvable, but not without substantial effort and significant computing resources.
 

st599

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If its any comfort Belfast CG are just as guilty of this.
Aren't they the same people? Don't they all sit in a windowless office in Fareham, just off the M27?

Fareham does:
Portland
Solent
Dover
Aberdeen
Shetland
Stornoway
Belfast
Holyhead
Milford Haven
Falmouth
Humber
 

Momac

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Meanwhile not one but two commercial vessels went past without responding - and the Coastguard could see them on AIS but didn’t try to call them via DSC to assist a very urgent rescue.
Perhaps the ships were unable to respond if , for example, they were confined by draft or if the rescue would have put the ships at risk?
Perhaps the coastguard and the ships did communicate. But if that was via DSC you would not have heard it .
 

ylop

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Aren't they the same people? Don't they all sit in a windowless office in Fareham, just off the M27?

Fareham does:
Portland
Solent
Dover
Aberdeen
Shetland
Stornoway
Belfast
Holyhead
Milford Haven
Falmouth
Humber
Not my understanding. My understanding is there are still MRCCs around the country. When busy any of the other MRCCs can pick up the work of the others with just some clicks of the mouse so someone responding to “Belfast Coastguard” may actually not be in Belfast but usually they will be.

If they’ve centralised it all they’ve done a clever job with the rotas to make sure the Norn Irish guys are sitting at the Belfast desk and Western Isles accents are covering Stornoway.
 

Aja

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Aren't they the same people? Don't they all sit in a windowless office in Fareham, just off the M27?

Fareham does:
Portland
Solent
Dover
Aberdeen
Shetland
Stornoway
Belfast
Holyhead
Milford Haven
Falmouth
Humber
Who told you that.....🤔
 

penberth3

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It's due to a failure to think of the message from the point of view of the recipient, a common sin. I have made a similar point in reverse in the past about boats not giving an approximate position before giving lat & long to three decimal places.

Only three decimal places? I saw a lat/long the other day with about 25 decimals!

I think that's where this problem comes from. Blinded by the technology, reading what's on the screen.
 
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