Amateur skippers are taking risks at sea

People who own or rent pleasure boats often overestimate their ability as skippers and underestimate the dangers of the sea, Merchant Marine Ministry officials said yesterday as they revealed that 325 sea rescue operations have been launched since the start of June. The coast guard has been dispatched to help more than 4,000 people during that time. Sources said that about 80 percent of the cases involve yachts or speedboats that have suffered engine failure. Ministry sources told Kathimerini yesterday that there are too many skippers who rely on technology such as Global Positioning Systems and electronic navigation but who do not know how to steer their vessel to the closest harbor if something goes wrong, and often set sail without first checking the weather forecast.