An Inspector Calls

A genial Englishman called Julian has shown up at the marina. He has lived in Japan for a long time and has much boating rules knowledge. I have very little. When I started on this adventure 3 years ago I was shielded from the complexities of boat registration, safety checks and such by the admirable Tabata san. This was great but left me ignorant. Julian points out that the date for my 3 year government safety inspection has long gone. What safety inspection?

Lots of code. 30 represents the year of registration. Learned people can tell when the next inspection is due.

Luckily, Shingo san, who is the paint specialist at the marina, knows all the rules and tells me exactly what equipment I need to pass the inspection. He does not speak English. We mime.

Smoke flare, recent.

Red bucket

Fire extinguisher,

Mooring lines


Same engine as before

5 lifejackets

Black ball thing

Black pyramid thing

A whistle

Some more stuff that I cannot remember.

Clearly the boat has to have a generally healthy aspect.

I go to the office in Tomari Harbor that deals with this and fill in many forms.

A form. I need lots of help, which of course I get.

The fee can only be paid at a Post Office. I walk to the nearest, which is about a kilometer away. By the time I get there I am close to death. It is 32C and the heat is blasting off the pavement.

I fill in more forms with lots of help. I am standing in a pool of sweat surrounded by immaculately cool Okinawans. It is embarrassing. I hand over the cash – no cards allowed- and the multiply stamped proof of payment is handed back. Can I make it back to the PCI office? Have you watched “Ice Cold in Alex?” Well, the walk back was a bit like that.

There are more difficulties. My address has changed since the first registration and I need documentation to officialize my change of address. This means driving unto Onna son to get another much stamped document. Frankly this procedure has been a drag. A drag much compensated by the smiles and almost desperate help from everyone I dealt with. Aregato gozaimasu.

The Inspector calls. He is a lot of fun. Julian helps. What to wear in Okinawa this Summer.
Julian san and Kiyuna san, wearing his motor bike helmet. It is so hot. High fashion.
Great guy from the JCI putting on his Inspector face.

I pass, yee-ha!

This is what it is for.

Great photo by

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2 Responses to An Inspector Calls

  1. calderi says:

    The red bucket – for chucking water on flames?
    Julian’s coat of many colours and hat much admired. Great sunset shot – I guess the sun goes down in the West, so where is Okinawa ? “Far, far away is all the sailors know”?

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