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SMAC Species Competition

Southsea Marina Angling Club will be holding a one-day Open Species Competition for individual boat anglers on Sunday 15th August 2021.

Fishing will be from 8:00am to 4:00pm.

There is a generous prize table with 100% payout (meaning all entry fees go into prizes and awards).

First prize for most species (size irrelevant) £500, other prizes TBA.

Entry fee is £10 per angler, plus an option £5 for the pool competitions – heaviest plaice.

Ladies Prize £100

Juniors Prize £75

Please contact Chris Ellis to register for the competitors list or for further details.



Channel 68 for Langstone Harbour Board

Local Notice to Mariners 06 of 2021

Mariners are advised that VHF Channel 68 has been allocated for the conduct of port operations in Langstone Harbour. This channel may now be used for operational communications within Langstone Harbour, typically including the co-ordination of traffic movement under pilotage, co-ordination of workboat or diving operations and initial reports to Harbour Office (for example by visiting yachts requiring access to visitor’s moorings).

A listening watch on this frequency will be kept while the Harbour Office is staffed during normal office hours and at other times as required but will not constitute a Local Port Service. It is recommended that harbour users keep a watch on VHF Channel 68 while within Port limits for any safety or operational information broadcasts made by call sign Langstone Harbour Radio.

The use of low power settings on VHF equipment when calling is recommended in order to reduce interference with other Solent harbours using this frequency (Hamble, Yarmouth and Beaulieu).

Vessels operating in the approaches to Langstone Harbour are reminded of the requirement to listen to the Southampton Port or Queen’s Harbour Master, Portsmouth working frequencies. (Across the broader eastern Solent, VTS Southampton use Ch12 to control traffic. When approaching Portsmouth and certainly north of a line between Outer Spit Buoy (OSB) and Gilkicker Point listen to Ch 11 for QHM.)

Owners, Agents, Charterers, Marinas, Yacht Clubs and Recreational Sailing Organisations should ensure that the contents of this Notice are made known to the Masters or persons in charge of their vessels or craft.

Click here for other local Langstone Harbour Board notices

How to deal with fish-related injuries

From our guest contributor, ex-RN medic and founder of Red Square Medical, Liz Baugh

A life at sea has taught me a lot. Patience, resilience, friendship, confidence, suffering, fear, exhaustion, love, humility and many other things. And a life practicing medicine at sea has taught me one huge lesson:

Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance!

I started out in the Royal Navy as a medic working on the warships alongside the Royal Marines. I was on my own, medically speaking. Satphones were hideously expensive and only to be used in a dire emergency. In that situation I would have to ask the Captain to turn the ship around and get within helicopter range so that we fly the casualty off. Fast forward 22 years, now I work in the commercial, cruise and leisure sector and satphones are the norm onboard vessels of all types. Advice at your fingertips at an average cost of a £1 per minute. What’s not to love? In an emergency someone needs to be on that satphone, but more importantly, someone else needs to be assessing the casualty and administering potentially life-saving first aid or treatment to them.

Let me tell you a story. Picture this: West African coast, bobbing around in the Atlantic and some of the lads decide they want to do a bit of fishing off the back end of the ship. Sounds idyllic right? In theory it probably would have been, but warships are too high to do this sensibly so a small Rib was put in the water. The fishing was underway. One of the lads got a bite, but couldn’t reel it in. Another helped drag it in and leant down to scoop up their catch. Big mistake. Huge. He screamed and pulled out a heavily bleeding arm with a very nasty bite on it. The chaps immediately applied direct pressure – the correct first aid for a bleed – and the RIB was brought back alongside. My name was being shouted loudly – never a good sign. Bag in hand I rushed up to where the boat was being brought back inboard and readied myself for action.

The issue with an actual bite as opposed to a sting is that the force can cause underlying structural damage through crushing, puncturing and deep infection in closed spaces. It’s not simply a quick clean and dress – professional medical opinion should always be sought.

Another time I was on a fishing vessel in the Red Sea and one of the crew jumped in for a swim. Those of you familiar with the Red Sea will know the speed at which a jellyfish swarm can appear. Well, he was surrounded. It was a spectacular sight although it made my legs feel funny, I have a ridiculous phobia of jellyfish. Anyway, he was stung over and over until he looked like someone had taken to him with an old-fashioned cat o’ nine tails whip. Cue hauling him out of the swarm and me yet again poised for action. Luckily it was not a species that delivered potentially life-threatening stings otherwise we would have had a real problem on our hands. Again, a professional medical opinion should be sought if in any doubt.

Marine animal stings, bites and injuries are an occupational hazard when working at sea or enjoying some leisure time out on the water. Whether you are a part time sailor, a round-the-world sailor or a stand-up paddle boarder, you are at risk of injuries caused by marine creatures. I have compiled a list of my basic top tips for dealing with these injuries and a list of additional first aid kit that every watery person should consider carrying on their vessel.

Top tip: the priorities of basic first aid always apply, so Danger, Response, Airway, Breathing, Circulation (DRABC) all need to be assessed and any life-threatening issues. These are covered on the 1-day RYA First Aid course.

Jelly fish stings: these come from the tentacles which are covered in capsules containing nematocysts that fire their nasty sting into your skin on contact. First things first: get the casualty out of the water and do your DRABC. Then remove any remaining tentacles by either using tweezers to pluck them off the skin or something like a credit card to scrape them away. Next we need to neutralise any remaining nematocysts and we do this by irrigating with seawater, NOT freshwater as this can actually cause activation of the nematocysts. Mild pain relief and ice packs will also help.

Sea urchins: this happened to me when I was a bit younger. I had gone swimming off a boat in the South of France to harvest some sea urchins from a close by rock for lunch. I’m not sure if you have ever eaten them but when you open them up there is this delicious orangey coloured substance which is the only bit you eat. Rather disturbingly these are the sex organs, but they are super yummy. Anyway, sea urchins have a nasty habit of leaving their black spiky things in your hands and feet. They are usually deeply embedded which means they are a beautiful source of infection if not dealt with. The best plan is to remove all visible spines as soon as possible then soak the affected area in hot water between 40-46 degrees Celsius or as hot as you can bear for between 60-90 minutes. This should aid with pain relief (it really did for me). The casualty may need some other form of oral pain relief and a booster tetanus vaccine may be required so they really should consult with a minor injuries unit as soon as practical.

 Fishy stings such as Weever, Catfish, Stingrays: ouch! These things have venomous spines on their backs, tails or gills that most commonly sting when they are trodden on when paddling in shallow water. It really bloody hurts so the best thing to do is soak the affected area in hot but not scalding water (below 45 degrees Celsius). Monitor the area for any signs of infection, especially if you believe that there is still some of the spike stuck in the person.

Fish bites: these can be filthy so if you are unable to get the casualty to a minor injuries unit easily, it is well worth giving the wound a really thorough clean and lightly dress it to protect from other external sources of infection. Steristrips can be used for superficial skin closure but only if you are sure you can clean the wounds properly.

My real top tip here is to wear suitable water shoes at all times, even on board when you are fishing. More info on useful kit below…

What should you carry in your onboard first aid kit for these injuries?

I love kit! A decent first aid kit that meets the needs of what you are doing is crucial to a good response, so my first recommendation is that you go for something a little more robust than the average First Aid kit you’d find in an office. But thinking specifically about the above injuries my recommendations for additional items to top up your kit would be:

  • Instant heat and cold packs
  • Bite/sting reliever gel or cream
  • Gauze swabs
  • Forceps (you could just use tweezers if you already have them)
  • 0.9% saline solution 20mls for irrigation and cleaning (like the eye wash you would find in the workplace)
  • Steristrips
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Non adherent or low adherent dressings
  • Micropore tape

I do hope that this has been helpful. If you want to practice some basic first aid skills, we run a course especially for leisure sailors that is designed to complement the 1-day RYA First Aid course. It covers these sorts of injuries and plenty of practical hints and tips for enjoying time on the water.

Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance!


Liz Baugh
Lead Medical Consultant

Red Square Medical


Bass Fishing Limits 2021

The government has rolled over the 2020 bass rules into 2021 as we await the results of continued discussions over fisheries policies and EU trading rules.

Briefly, rules are different for North Atlantic (that’s us) and South Atlantic. In our waters, we can retain up to two bass per angler per day between 1st March and 30th November. The MLS of 42cm still applies. Outside these dates it is Catch and Release only.

This may change in April, so watch out for announcements in the press and updates here.

Information from the Southern IFCA here:


Red Diesel to remain available for pleasure boats

The Government announced in the March 2021 Budget that recreational boaters can continue to use red diesel beyond April 2022.

Last year, HM Treasury ran a Consultation to review the impact of a future requirement for leisure boaters to use white diesel from April 2022 alongside commercial vessels who would continue to use red diesel. This would obviously be impractical and I’m relieved to see common sense has prevailed and the present system of a proportional tax on red diesel will continue.

Southsea Coastal Scheme

The Southsea Coastal Scheme has now started and will be of interest to anyone passing on or by the seafront whether on land or sea. The existing sea defences which prevent Portsmouth from flooding are now very old and need to be brought up to date. There has been extensive planning of this work to ensure it enhances the visitor experience as well as protecting the island. It will eventually provide improved beach access but the work, costing over £100 million will inevitably cause some disruption.

There is an excellent and very informative website here – have a look at the 3D visualisations on the map too. There will be large barges, dredgers and cranes moving close to the shore, and I expect there will be a lot of sediment distubed in the construction process which may affect fishing. Best advice is: proceed with caution in the area and it’s probably best to avoid the immediate area for fishing if there are boat movements visible.

Peter Merritt 1925-2020

My father Peter Merritt passed away on 30th November and I wanted to share some memories here that relate to fishing and boats.

Dad was always fascinated by boats small and large. He was brought up in East Ham and would often visit the London docks to see which steamers had arrived. Soon after he married Mum in 1953, they bought a wooden sailing dinghy which they renovated – Mum remembers trying to sandpaper over a growing bump that was me (to be). When I was of pushchair age they went sailing in Helford River with me strapped to the floorboards and were caught in a squall. This scared them so the boat was sold. Probably just as well, safety equipment wasn’t much of a thing then.

When I was about seven years old Dad bought me a fishing rod from Woolworths. It had a plastic reel/handle and a metal rod so it was more of a toy really, but it functioned and Dad bought a pack of size 16 hooks to nylon. With the business end sorted the rest didn’t matter. We went to a local stream, baited up with garden worms and to my surprise I actually caught a fish. OK it was only a minnow but he lived on for many years in our fishtank. That was the start of it and all these years later I’m still hooked on fishing.

As a boy I was reliant on being taken to fishing spots, and Mum would be persuaded to take me, a picnic, my fishing rod (I had a better one by now) and a pile of socks that needed darning, down to the Chelmer and Blackwater Canal. Dad travelled on business quite a lot but in school holidays he would research fishing spots near his business visits. He would drop me off to fish, then after his call he would come and collect me and we would drive home. I fished random places all over East Anglia.

We lived well inland in Essex so sea fishing was limited to family holidays or the occasional trip to Southend Pier. In 1972 we spent a fortnight in Ilfracombe and I pleaded with Dad to take me out on a charter trip. We caught mackerel, dogfish, bream, conger and Dad caught a very large ray of some sort. He was so delighted it didn’t take much to get another trip in before the holiday ended.

One thing led to another and somehow a plan for our own boat took shape. We toyed with the idea of fitting out a Colvic hull (they were built locally), but in the event Dad bought a 23 foot wooden Norwegian fishing boat called Punsj which we spent the summer converting into a motor/sailer. We moored it off Heybridge on the Blackwater, and spent many happy days pottering around the coast at six knots. No VHF radio, and our most sophisticated electronics was a Seafarer LED echo sounder! If we got stuck on the mud (which we did) we had to stay there until the next tide.

In 1978 my parents moved to Derbyshire, I graduated and moved to Hampshire and Punsj was sold. Dad never bought another boat but was always keenly interested in mine – starting with a 14 foot dinghy, then a Shetland Alaska in which we all followed the Tall Ships Regatta in Weymouth Bay. After owning my Trophy for 19 years I bought Rebel Runner and Dad was so keen to see it he was determined to get on board even though he was in his late 80s. I have happy memories of he and I sitting in the cabin yarning about past boating experiences, eating slightly burnt sausage rolls and beans.

My favourite memory is of the two of us in Punsj tied up in Bradwell marina on a sunny day. We must have been waiting for Mum and my brother Jonathan or something, who were taking their time to arrive. I remember Dad, usually always busy, leaning back in the sun and saying “Isn’t this marvellous. There’s is absolutely nothing I ought to be doing.”

Miss you Dad, and thank you for everything.

The mystery of the “Dean Tail Wreck”

This wreck is a popular angling mark where in summer many boats stop to feather for mackerel. It is easily located by the north and south cardinal buoys marking the wreck and shows as a distinctive hump on the fishfinder screen.

You may also know the wreck as the Flag Theofano MV, a freighter built in 1970. She was 324 feet long, weighing 2,818 tons She had several names in her 20 years of service before sinking in January 1990. But why did she sink? Why was her loss not discovered sooner? What happened to most of the crew? The circumstances of the wreck remain a mystery.

On the 29th January, Flag Theofano was carrying 4,000 tons of bulk cement from Le Havre to Southampton, with a crew of 19. That night a severe storm drove many ships to find shelter making it very difficult for the marine traffic controllers to find safe berths for them all. They were unable to provide a berth for Flag Theofano so she was called on the radio and instructed to anchor off Bembridge in the area called St Helens Roads, where many commercial vessels can be seen anchoring today. This was acknowledged by Captain John Pittas and the marine traffic controller then continued to look after other vessels in the area.

The next morning, Flag Theofano was called on the radio with new berthing instructions but there was no reply. Other vessels nearby were called but they could not see the vessel. She had disappeared. The full horror of the situation was revealed when two empty lifeboats, a life-raft and two bodies were found nearby. Flag Theofano had sunk, nobody had heard a distress signal and nobody had seen it happen. At the time they didn’t even know where the wreck was located.

Boats searching the area came across an oily patch in the water, bubbles escaping and ropes attached to something below the surface. As soon as the weather eased, divers were sent down and found the wreck upside down on the seabed 20 metres below the surface right by the main shipping lane leading to the Solent.

Salvage operations started in August 1990 but by now the cargo of cement had come into contact with the water and fully hardened, creating a huge block of concrete that was impossible to move, either to locate any bodies or to salvage the wreck. The bodies of the 17 remaining crew were never found. They may still be under the wreck, or they may have been swept away in the storm.

Nor do we know why the ship sank. It must have been sudden or distress signals would have been sent. Possibly the cargo shifted in the storm leading to a capsize, but was this before she anchored, or did she drift from the anchorage to Dean Tail later in the night? We will never know. It seems bizarre in this age of total electronic surveillance that even in 1990 a ship a few miles from land can simply disappear and not be missed for hours.

The only human connection we have to this wreck is the unmarked grave of one of the sailors in Portsmouth’s Kingston Cemetery: Ibrahim Hussain who was only 19 years old. If you pass the wreck at Dean Tail, spare a thought for him and his 18 colleagues (all from Chios Island in Greece) who have been forgotten by history and are just a distant memory to their families.

If you would like to know what the wreck looks like close up, this video on YouTube gives a rather murky view. The wreck is lying on a seabed of mainly mud covered in a layer of shells.


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