The UKBA has just five cutters to patrol the whole of the UK's coastline. Four of these are up to date Damen Stan vessels, 42m and capable of 26kts. The fifth, the Sentinel, is an older design and currently responsible for Scotland's 3,000 miles of coastline. Word is that the UKBA is planning to scrap the Sentinel without replacement and rely on just Seeker, Searcher, Vigilant and Valiant to patrol the entire UK.
The time is right for the creation of an HMRC Auxiliary. The cost of procuring and maintaining new small patrol craft is minimal - it's the crew that costs. I'm sure if the government supplied 20 or 30 new small cutters, under 24m to allow most experienced yachtsmen to command them, together with training opportunities for our young men and women who want to learn our island race's sea-skills, the benefits would grossly outweigh the costs.
It's not the Dutch yachts carrying cocaine that trouble me, but the Dutch yachts carrying Jihadists, radioactive materials and explosives and weapons from Eastern Europe.
With an Auxiliary force on the water, UKBA can spend its money on a couple of unmanned drones, not only to fill the RAF Nimrod gap until the new MRA4s are built from the skeletons of the old
1950s de Havilland Comets MR2s but to add to the level of border security and provide targets for Auxiliary HMRC service interception and boarding.
Would I give up three days a month to serve in a new Auxiliary HMRC? Of course.
(Um, that thing on the foredeck that looks like it should be a 40mm Bofors is actually a fire hose)