I had a haircut while I was on vacation. It was a quiet day at the mall and 2 of the stylists were comparing notes on their apartments. One had a ceiling fan with no light; the other was lamenting the lack of fan. It reminded me of one of my favourites shows years ago- Trading Spaces. If you never watched the show the premise was simple: two sets of neighbours redecorated a room in the other’s home with no input from the home owner on what was going on. There were beautiful rooms and there were disasters, but a flash point continually was the removal of ceiling fans. I get that ceiling fans are not the prettiest thing, but homeowners obviously wanted them for their practicality. Time after time they were removed by designers.
A flash point in the fishing industry lately has new Fishing Vessel Safety Regulations that come into effect in July. Much like Trading Spaces, they are an update and replacement for the existing Fishing Vessel Inspection Regulations. There were the expected inclusions (with plenty of advance consultation and input) that address the stability of vessels. We’ll call that the conversation the friends have before the show about what they did and didn’t want. There were also surprises that came regardless of the pleas of the luckless neighbours, like written safe operating procedures. We’ll call that what the designer has in mind, like hanging the furniture from the ceiling.
On Trading Spaces during the big reveal designers and neighbours delightedly (or reluctantly) pointed out the changes. With the regulations, it was like an unfortunate treasure hunt to spot the differences between what was discussed and consulted and what was included. No designer commentary included.
Too be fair, the regs were posted online. (It only took me 10 minutes of searching to find them.) A ship safety bulletin was sent out but the official legalese was difficult to understand at best. For those who actually read it there was a lot of uncertainty about what was needed. Oh, and those safe operating procedures? There are handy templates online, but they’re actually for passenger vessels. (FYI – fishing vessels are different than passenger vessels kind of like a coffin is different than a spice rack)
The fishing organizations asked for time for implementation so fishermen who didn’t understand, or didn’t know there was something for them to not understand, weren’t left in a state of non-compliance. A staggered implementation of other regs had been done successfully for both the government and industry. But there was no acknowledgement of a problem.
The regulations are passed and there will be compliance eventually. Like walls covered with straw or a beach in a living room on Trading Spaces, we’ll grow used to it. But the regulations (like a room) must be functional. We’re just asking for a little time to reinstall the ceiling fan first.