OF Bob Bradfield Awarded MBE

We were delighted to learn that OF Bob Bradfield has been awarded an MBE in the recent New Year’s Honours List for services to navigation and maritime safety on the West Coast of Scotland.

Bob, in his retirement, became an amateur hydrographic surveyor having identified a shortfall in the availability of modern navigation information for Scottish anchorages, particularly on the West Coast.

Bob, an engineering graduate but City investment banker by profession, found that many inshore areas on the West Coast were last surveyed prior to 1863. Since 2009, Bob has used his ‘spare time’ to accurately chart anchorage sites using a single-beam depth-sounder in conjunction with GPS tracking and subsequently to use ‘sidescan’ sonar to verify his recordings. These unofficial charts, known as the Antares Charts after the converted fishing boat from which Bob conducted much of his mapping, have been highly appreciated by the sailing community, with one sailor stating, ‘Using these charts, we were able to visit some amazing anchorages we would never have ventured to otherwise. There is no way we would have dared enter Loch Tarbet on Jura without them. If you are planning on sailing in the Scottish Islands these charts are a “must have”’.

In a 2014 interview with Practical Boat Owner magazine Bob said ‘As an unqualified enthusiast with limited resources I can’t produce a comprehensive set of charts to rigorous standards, but I have made it my mission in retirement to do what I can: it’s great fun and seems to be meeting a need’.

Many congratulations to Bob on turning a retirement hobby into such a worthwhile and highly appreciated venture.

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