Could moves to make compulsory tracking of visiting yachts be a sign of things to come?
Here’s a sign of things to come, I reckon.
I’ve just come back from sailing in the Gulf of Thailand, the part right beside Cambodia (yes, thanks, very constructive, as we say here). There were no cruising yachts to be seen in the whole area, which is perhaps unsurprising considering that most head for Phuket, which is some 500 miles west on the Andaman Sea.
All in all, you might expect Thailand to be a country of traditional paperwork formalities in triplicate, possibly enquiring, as some countries still do: ‘Have you any news?’
Not so. According to the Phuket Gazette , the Thai Customs and Immigration authorities are planning to issue every visiting yacht with a tracking device when they clear in, so as to log their movements.
This is not so greatly different to the hated Transit logs used in Greek and Turkish waters, but the crucial difference is for the first time it will be possible to monitor yachts in fact, rather than in theory, and it will produce information that could actually be put to some use – whatever that might be.
Anyway, point is that as tracking devices continue to fall in cost (hundreds of pounds now and getting cheaper all the time), I can see the day compulsory government tracking of yachts becomes widespread.
And if you don’t believe that it would ever be done here, think again. Not so long ago I reported that the government is going to oblige yachts to clear in and out for every voyage to or from the UK .
Bones of the same idea, don’t you think?