Capt Ian Wilkins MM FNI HonMIIMS, pays tribute to his friend and has written this fitting obituary.
It was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Dave peacefully at home on Sunday 26th March.
The first thing to say about Dave is that he was a “seaman”. That may seem a strange thing to say but there are many people who go to sea and call themselves sailors or seafarers – even seaman – nothing wrong with that, but Dave was a real “SEAMAN” and he really did know the ropes. All of them!
Below is an actual quote from his first nautical college report before he went to sea.
“Keenly interested in practical seamanship and will make a good seaman”.
They were not wrong there!
After attending nautical college Dave started his career at sea with Bank Line in 1956 “tramping “around the world. In the sixties he took a break from the sea during which time he took on many varied jobs from lorry driving to running a taxi business. But the lure of the sea saw Dave back on board in the early seventies joining Stag Line of North Shields where he advanced his sea going career and qualifications, obtaining his Masters Foreign Going Certificate in 1984. He progressed through the ranks until deciding to “swallow the anchor” and come ashore for good.
Dave joined Alfred H Knights, an independent provider of inspection and testing services based in St Helens, as a cargo/commodity superintendent.
It was at this time that Dave became involved with the IIMS shortly after its foundation. The Institute was going through a difficult time but with his enthusiasm, ideas and support it survived and prospered to become what it is today.
Draught surveying was Dave’s passion and over many years he wrote about it, debated it and on many occasions argued with the best in the world about it. Rarely, if at all, did Dave lose an argument in draught surveying disputes. He developed the first Excel computer programme for generating draught survey reports – a programme which is still used today.
Dave was the “go to man” for all things “draught surveying”. His knowledge, experience and expertise were sought after by P&I clubs, shippers and ship owners on a global basis.
This lead Dave to write teaching modules, presenting at marine educational seminars as well as being an assessor for the IIMS BTEC Marine Surveying qualification. We are lucky his teaching modules and other publications he worked on are, and will be forever, available and so his work will carry on being used and Dave will continue to be remembered through his work.
He was a great supporter of the Institute, its aims and objectives. For his contribution to the educational work of the IIMS he was elected an Honorary Member.
After retiring from Alfred H Knights, Dave set up what became a very successful surveying company, DG Marine, and he continued surveying until ill health slowed him down. But Dave, being a true professional, battled on to the point that even during short spells in hospital he could be found organising surveys all over the country from his hospital bed.
There were other sides to Dave’s life which many will be unaware of. He was a very good musician playing the guitar in folk groups around the north west. He was a keen model maker building large scale model aeroplanes and flying them at events on many occasions. And last but not least he was an avid cricket fan with his beloved Lancashire close to his heart. He was not just a spectator – his statistical knowledge was equally something to behold.
Dave will be sadly missed, but affectionately remembered by all his merchant navy, surveying and maritime industry friends and colleagues. His musician friends, model club fans and of course his close group of loyal Lancashire cricket club fans will also miss him dearly.
Our thoughts go out to Dave’s wife Linda, his daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Keep on sailing Dave.
With fair winds and following seas.
Capt Ian Wilkins MM FNI HonMIIMS