Cramming. 13th May

Goole and Hull Marina

Cramming on the dinette table

The morning was spent sharing the dinette table. Me at one end with model crates, rowing boats and a cucumber sandwich marquee, Mick the other with the laptop, cramming for his exam this afternoon.

Originally he’d planned on taking the VHF Short Range Certification exam in Scarborough, at the lighthouse. But the building is currently closed due to restrictions, it is the club house for Scarborough Yacht Club and will reopen 17th May. Mick had been offered one of the first exam slots but he’d decided to try closer to the boat and had been pointed towards Hull Marina.


After lunch we both walked up to the station, me asking simple questions such as ‘If Tilly’s tail was on fire would that be a scenario for a Mayday call?’ No. ‘If Tilly’s flaming tail brushed against the curtains in the boat and set light to them would that be a scenario for a Mayday call?’ Yes! So the boat is more important than me!

How can I not be more important than the boat!?!

Off Mick sped to Hull whilst I bimbled around Goole. Purchase of moisture crystals and some kindling was achieved but other (secret) items I wasn’t so lucky with. But by the time I returned to the marina I was glad I was not carrying anymore weight as all my fingers were about to drop off!

Hull Marina

Mick walked across Hull to the marina, having to make a detour as most of the footpaths were closed alongside the A63. Bars were busy with outdoor seating in the sunshine.

In the preamble to his exam he was asked what an EPIRB was. Well he couldn’t remember what the letters all stood for (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon), but knew that they are used to transmit a distress alert to satellites. On Oleanna we don’t have one of these.

The exam consisted of several written questions and a multiple choice section. The written section was all about distress calls, maydays, none with the scenario we’d talked about earlier. It all took about 45 minutes and out of 28 questions he got one wrong. The question had been which channel to use for Bridge to Bridge communication. Mick had assumed it would be the same as Ship to Ship, but this was wrong. We have since looked in the VHF handbook and it is channel 13, this wasn’t mentioned on the online course.

However getting one question wrong was not a problem, he passed! A rather washed out photo has been sent off to the RYA for him to get his card/certification. We now meet all the criteria for using Ocean Lock that ABP request.

A widebeam

A walk around the marina as the examiner made ready to head off out onto the Humber to do some manoeuvre training. Mick asked if there were any narrowboats moored there. The examiner pointed to a widebeam which was familiar to us, last seen below Pollington Lock in September.

Heading out onto the Humber

Walking back to the station Mick came across a vaccination centre at City Hall, on the off chance he enquired if he’d be able to get his second jab. We’ve heard of some centres offering jabs to people who turn up towards the end of the day as they have surplus vaccine to be used up, but sadly it was appointment only here. Worth a try though, it would have saved another trip next week.


Mick’s journey back to Goole was slowed by a ship exiting the docks requiring a bridge swing, closing the road, the tug zooming off to assist somewhere. We celebrated his success with a glass or two of wine and a macaroni cheese with extras in the middle.


0 locks, 0 miles, 2 trains, 2 crates, 4 hours cramming,1 cat seeking new heights, 2.5kg crystals, 2kg kindling, 0 secret shopping, 1 toucan, 27 out of 28, 0 handbooks allowed, 1 widebeam, 0 attendance on Zoom, 1 bridge swing, 4 glasses of wine, 1 cat’s tail uncharred, 1 year since we got the house back, 1 big Happy Birthday to Frank!

3 thoughts on “Cramming. 13th May

    1. Pip Post author

      Thank you Ade. He can add it to his qualifications on his CV now.

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