One of the amusing elements of my working life was having to learn new language when a Government changed. So Conservative governments used to talk enthusiastically of “crime prevention”; Labour governments spoke equally enthusiastically of “crime reduction”. Civil servants have to get on-message straight away. As it happens, I always considered it easier to talk about “crime reduction” – indeed, I used to say that crime prevention was impossible whilst crime reduction was easy.
Crime reduction becomes easier if you know when and where any offences will occur – which explains the heavy police presence at football matches. Here on the harbour, in two successive years with an evening high tide and a full moon in September, the opportunity has been taken to steal expensive outboard engines. This year it was heavy 200hp engines: fortunately one has turned up in Canada and, doubtless, some people are now helping the police with inquiries.
And we know precisely when most speeding up South Pool creek will occur – a July or August evening when the tide is high, especially if that is a Saturday. Vessels returning to Salcombe or Kingsbridge assume that there will be no harbour staff to book them.
The optimal evening high tide at 2100hrs will occur this year on Wed 19 and Thurs 29 July and Thurs 12 and Sat 28 August (and, obviously, the tides are similar a day or so each side). As only one of these dates is a Saturday evening we should have a quieter year this year: but great care should be taken on the evening of 28 August.
Let’s end on a happier note: for some reason or other, although last year was pretty wet and the harbour’s water quality goes down in wet weather because of the run-off from cattle, South Sands satisfied the EU water quality standards throughout 2009, so is once again on track to have a Blue Flag. We could consider getting a Quality Coast flag (http://qualitycoastapplication.org/) for the undeveloped beaches on our side as they also meet the water quality standards although they lack the facilities which a Blue Flag requires. The water in the harbour is actually very clean as long as (paradoxically) one stays away from the fresh water streams across the beaches: if you do get in them, wash your hands in the cleaner sea water before eating.
This year also sees reduced harbour dues for most boats without an engine. So have a good season and enjoy the harbour.