Sadly I have had this subject on the blog before. We have many good friends and regular sailing visitors to our beautiful anchorage. For many years I watched yachts struggle to anchor. Many Yacht owners were forced to sit up all night watching as they dragged around the bay in a gale.
Now those Yachts that were well stuck in would maybe scoff at them but there may be many reasons why others anchors were not holding. So after holding off putting in moorings we bit the bullet and did just that. After the performance from various objectors to our pontoon I was hesitant. So this time we sought permission first rather than last, which was (those that were dealing with it) the problem last time
4 moorings went in to add to the Pontoon Mooring buoy. All supplied by Gael Force to a high standard. They were not cheap but Gael Force’s work was recommended and so it has proved a good decision. Some boat visitors have had a moan but the majority and I stress the majority have been very supportive, with 95% paying up (this year even contributing more). But this blog is about the 5% who think it is smart, funny, cheeky, two fingers up to us to leave without making any attempt to pay.
There are quite a few pictures here in my file of other non payers, their vessel names are available!! We record all visitors to our moorings (if we can). Sometimes we are so busy, we forget or do not manage to catch a photo and often these are the very ones that take off without paying. But what I cannot comprehend is why leave the AIS on or think we cannot see them using a mooring. In last nights case we were covering some feedstuffs by the shore when the yacht above came in, picked up the mooring in thick fog. I could not see the vessels name as it’s name was not visible in the fog. But I could see on the AIS who it was, surprisingly the AIS was switched off before the yacht came into the harbour. Switched on again at the mouth of the harbour this morning.
This morning’s non payer may yet call this evening, I see on AIS as I write that he is heading to Mallaig, perhaps? There may be a good reason why he did not come ashore, I have heard many times from non payers we have caught that their dinghy was burst, or they had lost their pump, or they had this or that wrong with them personally that stopped their trip ashore to pay. Asked why they did not call, there was no signal. Yes for sure there is no signal in the harbour unless you have a mast aerial. Some do. Having lived here for 20 years and used all manner of phones, there is a signal for them all once you are a mile out of Rona in all directions. But sailing for a week as one yacht did and getting caught eventually (thanks Stewart) in Orkney/Stromness and using that as an excuse is ridiculous. There is a signal all round Rona, we know, we live here. As an add on this yacht had quite a few excuses for not paying culminating in having to get one of his crew to pay as he did not have Internet banking, for goodness sake!!!
Foreign yachts were especially bad at leaving without paying in the past. But this year they have been pretty good. But that is possibly because there are/were so many this season. However there were a few who cannot read English or have no working phone. (Aye Right!!). It is bad enough when UK vessels on our moorings do come ashore, read the notices and then enjoy a walk on the paths provided, maybe even help them selves to water or leave rubbish, then leave without paying. Foreign yachts might not understand our notices but they understand they have or should pay.
Another chestnut is messing about at the mooring box at the Pier making out that they are doing ‘something’, we then take it they have paid only to find out later that there was in fact no envelope or note from them, must have been just a look in the box to see what they should be doing, who knows. The two that stick out was one who had not enough money but left what they could, not much? Must try that in TESCOs next time I’m there. And the best one, the one who left a small amount of change and a couple of bottle tops, you think I’m making that one up, think again.
So, as I say the majority are good honest people, who support us, many come back regularly, we get many, good, welcome comments, seldom negatives. The cruise boats supports us, our regular day trip boats all contribute. Any income is welcome, it costs an awful lot of money annually to run Rona. There are costs galore, not only the pontoon and mooring maintenance, insurance and Crown Estate but the paths, the internet, water and so it goes on. This is a working Island not simply a tourist attraction. We try our best to accommodate visitors, the Right to Roam for us is not a cheap right!!
It is good that we are getting a good percentage of payers but it would be better to be 100%. I often use the analogy whilst discussing moorings with visitors that if I was to go into TESCOs and pick up a bottle of Red Wine, then leave without paying. I’m pretty sure I’d be stopped by the Security and I’m also pretty sure that my excuse of ‘Oh I was going to pay by BACS once I got a phone signal would wash.
The moorings are clearly marked with instructions and phone numbers, as are various pilot books and social media pages.
So why is it in the Non Payers mind ok to take from Rona but not give?
5 pm on Sunday. Clearly the above post is me being cross. No wonder, after all the effort of laying moorings it really gets me going when people don’t pay for the service we provide.
SO, we put a post on facebook (BillCowie) and my own personnel detective got on the case, he knows all the harbour masters up and down the coast!!!!!
Would you believe within a couple of hours and within two minutes of each other two of the yachts that had not paid called me offering to pay which I readily accepted.
I am not going to say too much more than I have so I am pleased to get a result. But from now on we are going to log every yacht in the harbour and since this is Sunday, Religiously!!!!!!
On a cheerier note, here is a card that we received on Saturday with a parcel in the post, this is from a couple who had a fridge failure on their yacht. We had many spare ice packs so gave them a few, they were on a mooring and bought venison too. The card would have been enough for me, that is how it works here!!
On that note, the sun is shining at last Happy Days.