We need a coast guard

Roy Foster, Clovelly

I am inspired by the immense cost to us to create a submarine museum (“Plan to revive Simon’s Town sub museum,” Echo December 1).

I have to ask: Why do we have a navy when what we actually need is a coast guard?

Our navy hasn’t fired a shot in anger for at least 77 years, if ever. During World War II, they were unable to deter German submarines, and in the unlikely event that they were ever attacked, in the present day, by a real navy, they would not be capable of defending our coast.

Why not take the personnel and retrain them to protect our ports and marine environment; do search and rescue; be first responders on water; enforce maritime laws; stop poachers and illegal fishing boats; keep waterways and beaches safe; protect coastal reserves and fight fires; and perform shark-spotting, lifeguard and customs duties.

The coast guard would still fall under the Defence Force and enforce both local, national and international laws.

Smaller locally produced boats can create jobs, and they will cost far less than massive tenders for imported vessels.

I realise I will receive some flak from the navy, past and present, but if they think about this with an open mind, they may see the light.