Another year has passed so quickly and this year we have had to be prepared for a ‘No Notice’ DFS check.
This is the new Head Office trial of conducting a performance check on individual stations without a fixed date or any pre warning.
It goes without saying that we should be able to meet the demands of a station that has DFS at all times. However, it is not in peoples’ nature to react well to surprise checks which has the potential to cause some concern with those on the receiving end of the check.
It is with that in mind that the DFS assessors go out of their way to ensure the watchkeepers are put at ease when they arrive.
So what warning did we get of the check this year?…..answer none. The station management team did not receive any notification other that it would be conducted from the 1st to the 13th Sep.
The first the watchkeepers knew that the DFS was to take place was by a call received on Channel 65 from Barry Cant, the assessor. Bill Tyrer and George Stephenson were on duty and the radio was answered promptly using the correct procedures. From the feedback I have had all proceeded smoothly and a good handover was provided to Ann Davies and Bill Cohen who took over the afternoon shift.
In conversation with Barry Cant, he said it was a pleasure to do the DFS at our station again this year. He was particularly impressed with the local area knowledge and the conduct of the watchkeepers throughout the day. He raised some points on the way in which we fill in our Log which I have answered and he accepts since the log may be adapted to suit local station needs. He also spotted that I had not put in the latest chart corrections from the Admiralty. ‘Mea culpa’ I’ve told him we shall institute a method of chart checking for the future, probably with our clock system on the Ops computer. He also asked where our ‘training manual’ was. He was told that the training system is being updated by Martyn Cripps. Whether we actually need a physical paper copy is under discussion. Overall, he commented that the station is very well organised and run very professionally. A copy of the report is on the station notice board.
We are now in my 3rd year as manager and I thank you all for the commitment and willingness to volunteer your time and experience in maintaining the standards required to retain DFS. More importantly, I thank you for the professional lookout maintained during the rest of the year which helps to keep people safe on our shores and sea areas.
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