More of your correspondence

Pistol problems
Regarding Verey pistols – how does one get the pistol on to the boat? The moment it’s off the boat it requires the owner to have a Restricted Firearms Certificate, issued free of charge from the Constabulary where you live. I emphasise free of charge because they try to charge me. If you are ‘going foreign’ I wouldn’t chance having no certificate. I understand police can issue a limited certificate to cover removing the pistol on board during the winter but if you takes it home they will require secure storage.
Mr L.M.Garner (by email)

Australian customs for sailors
The arrest by Australian Customs of an elderly Dutch couple sailing around the world on their retirement raises a serious issue of safety for cruising yachts entering Australia.
Since June 2006 a little-publicised requirement of entry to Australia provides that visiting yachts must give between four and ten days notice before entering Australian territorial waters. Such notice should be given by email. Failure to comply can result in penalties and costs ranging from £2,000. In some circumstances, the vessel may seized and impounded.
The decisions made by courts so far have not considered that many vessels do not have email. Australia also no longer provides standard HF radio services and no ordinary VHF transmitter has the range to exceed Australian territorial waters. The Dutch couple had a criminal conviction recorded against them. Sailors beware, or give Australia a miss!
Chris Ayres (by email)

Voltage safety
In your article ‘All powered up’ (YM, March 2007), about Gipsy Moth IV getting her batteries re-charged there is nothing on safety! When you run 220 V on board (in particular for small/medium sailing boats), ideally, at least a grounding wire and a Residual Current Device (RCD) should be fitted.
220 V on board can be lethal. In fact, at home RCD and grounding wires are mandatory; the same is true on board in professional installations. Restrictions in using 220 V are also operational for swimming pools, bathrooms, and so on; that is where there is a lot of water! In the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-2009 a voltage on board greater than 50V will be strictly forbidden for safety reasons.
Renato Serafini, Sailing teacher, Rome, (by email)

Exhausted rats
During an Atlantic cruise in our Westerly Conway ketch, rats came aboard while we were lying in a seemingly squeaky-clean marina in Naples, Florida, USA. They evaded traps and lapped up the poison bait. The problem was solved by putting our portable Honda generator in the bilges and running it for several hours. The exhaust killed the rats. Always use net screens in open hatches and ports at night to deter the enemy and of course, have bilges deep enough to take a generator!
Dorothy Bardon, Winchester (by email)