For many years there have been articles criticising the fact that in Kenya anyone could get a boat, and without any training or experience whatsoever take out tourists and other paying clients on the seas and lakes. This has now changed with the passing of the Maritime Act 2009, and any person driving a boat requires an approved certificate.
Until now, there has been no place locally where leisure boat skippers could get formal training to a suitable standard, although some fleet owners have imported instructors to conduct private courses. But this has changed with the opening of the Indian Ocean Powerboat School, IOPS, and everyone involved in boats, for leisure, fishing and the tourism industry should have formal training themselves and get their skippers and mates trained and certificated to make boating safer and more fun.
Such training greatly reduces chances of a serious accident, while owners must consider the serious legal implications of an accident with an unqualified captain.
IOPS, a fully accredited overseas Royal Yachting Association training centre, now offers such training, based at Capt Andy’s Creek Marina, Nyali, with competent and professional instructors. The RYA, which has been established for over 130 years, has 2,300 training centres in 41 countries around the world and develops courses internationally renowned and respected and up to date on safety issues, regulations and emergency trends, and initially the Powerboat Level 2 Certificate is offered.
This is a two day course with practical training in Tudor Creek which gives the candidates the relevant skills and confidence to drive a motor boat. This is fun on the water and families can come too, while successful candidates can also apply for the International Certificate of Competence through IOPS. An advanced course, involving going offshore and night work, will soon be offered by June, and instructors will be able to teach at other locations, such as Lake Victoria. Try their interesting website www.iops.co.ke
The fishing scene has been quieter with fewer trips this last week, but the fish are there – big fish, too, as witnessed by Mark Faulkner out with veteran skipper Pete Darnborough in Alleycat, when a huge blue marlin crashed a lure on heavy 60kg tackle and ran away with 800 metres of line down to the knot on the reel spool, despite chasing hard in the boat. It is an amazing, if frustrating, experience for skipper and angler to be ‘spooled’ like this, but what a monster this must have been!
Next day the angler tagged a black marlin around 90kgs, on this his first trip to Kenya, so both a marlin and a great story!
Clueless did well also, with a blue marlin and two sail released, and Simba tagged a blue marlin for Tim Allen, so there are still billfish about in the Rips, while closer in on the Banks there has been a good run of wahoo, Vuma catching seven one day, and White Bear four as well as five dorado, while Ol Jogi found a couple of sail as well as eight wahoo. These latter are tasty table fare, often described as kingfish from which they are barely distinguishable on the butcher’s slab, and at present are averaging about ten kgs – they run very fast and fight well on light tackle, and when one hits a shoal, their razor teeth take a very heavy toll of one’s best lures!
With the winds gentle but starting to veer south of east, and clouds building up although no rain has fallen here yet, fishing should continue until Easter with skippers and crews looking forward to their well earned rest.