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Displaying items by tag: Flares

Reviewing the equipment on my Sigma 33. Scribbler, before launching this year, I've been wondering about flares.

I don't have any needing disposal at present, but I've been following the debate in the UK where the Royal Yachting Association has said that "it is worth looking again at effective alternatives that might replace them altogether".

I looked up the coastal safety website of the MCA there – the Maritime and Coastguard Agency – which didn't mention flares. The RYA has highlighted that.

The yachting association takes the view that anyone carrying flares who is not compelled to do so – and that's only for over 45-footers in the UK – should pay for their disposal.

"It is not our intention to prevent those who carry flares as part of their safety equipment from doing so, but in every other area of society, the holders of hazardous waste, which out-of-date flares are classified as, are expected to dispose of it legally and responsibly." The RYA is warning that if a boatowner carries flares, they'd better budget for the cost of eventual disposal.

The RYA is warning that if a boatowner carries flares, they'd better budget for the cost of eventual disposal

That echoes the UK Department of Transport which closed a consultation on flares last month, making it clear that it favours the 'polluter pays principle to dispose of flares.

In March last year, the UK MCA renewed its advice to yacht owners to carry flares for use in an emergency, rather than using Electronic Visual Distress Signals. It says it has been spending €250,000 sterling a year for a free flares disposal service, the contract for which will expire in December. But its figures show that when it started disposing of flares free it dealt with 60,000 a year but that number has dropped to less than 12,000.

As what happens in the UK often impacts here, I asked our Department of Transport, it having responsibility for the Coast Guard here - What are the existing provisions/arrangements for the safe disposal of out-of-date flares by owners of yachts/motorboats in the leisure sphere?

Marine Notice No.13, amended last October, detailing its scheme for the safe disposal of 'time-expired' flares

The Department's Press Office sent me Marine Notice No.13, amended last October, detailing its scheme for the safe disposal of 'time-expired' flares and listing eight chandlers in Clare, Cork, Donegal and Dublin where they may be taken.

They are Derg Marine in Killaloe; CH Marine in Skibbereen and Cork City; Union Chandlery, Cork; Swan Net Gundry, Castletownbere; Atlantic Marine Supplies and Swan Net Gundry in Killybegs; O'Sullivan Marine in Rathcoole, Dublin and Solas Marine in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Download the full notice here

That is good to know. My concern about flares is eased.

Podcast below

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) in the UK has responded to a consultation, launched by the Department of Transport (DfT), on the disposal of pyrotechnic flares.

The consultation sought views on the safe disposal of marine pyrotechnics, looking for a practical alternative to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s temporary ‘last-resort’ service.

The RYA says that the compulsory carriage of flares by recreational boaters is an outdated and ineffective approach to maritime safety.

Having to carry flares, the RYA says, directly creates the problem of their disposal.

The RYA’s main case for the removal of the compulsory carriage is both the technological advances in alternative equipment, and the inherent lack of reliability and effectiveness that the flares provide.

“Modern technology such as radios, phones and other satellite-connected technologies provide safer, affordable and significantly more reliable alternatives to pyrotechnic flares,” says Phil Horton, RYA environment and sustainability manager. “It is disappointing that this consultation does not consider removing mandatory carriage requirements as part of the solution as, in our opinion, that is the only viable way ahead.

“However, should the MCA continue to require the carriage of flares, then the RYA’s view is that extended producer responsibility is the only reasonable solution for their safe disposal. A levy on the purchase of new flares, and a requirement for vendors to recover out-of-date product, would ensure that industry addresses the issue.”

Published in RYA Northern Ireland

#flares – US marine writer Joan Wenner saw Afloat.ie's story on the RYA's position on distress flaresFlares have outlived their usefulness in an age of modern water safety technology, says theRoyal Yachting Association - which is urging British authorities to drop the requirement for flares on yachts larger than 13.7 metres.

Wenner ran the story by the owner and president of Landfall Navigation, Inc., Stamford, Connecticut, USA, a noted expert on the subject, for a possible story for a US publication.  

Captain Henry Marx,  (a former U.S. Navy submariner and mariner with over 50 years of marine experience including blue water racing off Southern Norwegian Coast and Caribbean), gave the following comment:

"First, I do not agree with the RYA on this, especially for vessels under 65 ft. For the well crewed offshore race boat maybe --but how many Bayliner owners have their DSC hooked up - assuming they know what it is? Flares are simple and they work.

Many rescues are effected by "the boat over there" who is probably not monitoring his any radio, and remember, none of us have electronics that enbale us to hear and locate EPIRBs/PLBs -- you have to call the U.S. Coast Guard SAR Center and ask for the location of your PLB Man Overboard! Second, the U.S.oast guard is particularly resistant to other opinion about safety gear. Now there are some "Electronic Flares" appearing on the market - and they could be interesting - but until USCG Approved - do not count for U.S. flagged vessels"

 

Joan Wenner, J.D. is a longtime USA marine writer. She contacted Captain Henry Marx for his comments.

Published in Rescue
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#Flares - Distress flares have outlived their usefulness in an age of modern water safety technology, says the Royal Yachting Association - which is urging British authorities to drop the requirement for flares on yachts larger than 13.7 metres.

On her Yachting World blog, Elaine Bunting highlights quotes from the RYA's cruising manager Stuart Carruthers who argues that the need for flares is negated by "EPIRBs, personal locator beacons, and VHF DSC that will do the job automatically".

He adds: "If you are not carrying another electronic device [aside from flares] then you'd be barking mad, because that's the way the management of search and rescue has gone."

Carruthers also points out that an omnidirectional laser flare works out as better value than an offshore flare pack, and performs a better job of helping to pinpoint your location in a rescue effort.

The RYA is now pushing for the UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to review its safety requirements for craft over 13.7m, which make compulsory the carriage of parachute flares - which are illegal if the operator has not undergone training, though there is currently no training available for yachtsmen.

Yachting World has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Water Safety
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#RNLI – Crosshaven RNLI lifeboat was tasked at 7.30pm  on 6 January to a report of a red distress flare being reported by the control tower at Cork airport. A compass bearing was given which put the incident in the vicinity of the mouth of Cork harbour.

The Atlantic 75 class lifeboat 'Miss Betty" with Alan Venner in command along with fellow volunteers Ian Venner and Vince Fleming searched a large area in seas of 2 metres high between Ringabella and Roches Point. Crosshaven and Guileen Coast Guard units were also tasked to carry out shoreline searches from Roberts Cove in the West to Trabolgan in the East.

All commercial and fishing vessels in the locality were contacted and asked to assist with Radar sweeps of the area. After an intensive search lasting well over 2 hours the lifeboat returned to Station.

Commenting on the incident, Ray Heffernan, Volunteer lifeboat launching authority, believed the dreaded Magic Lanterns were once again to blame. He said " between the RNLI crews on the lifeboat and those manning the station, and the two Coast Guard units searching the shoreline, up to 60 volunteers have had their evening disrupted by the people who wantonly let off these lanterns with no regard for the consequences. Until we are absolutely satisfied that no persons are in danger , we have to keep the search up".

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

The RNLI Lifeboat in Clifden, Co. Galway has issued a plea over a series of call outs due to the irresponsible use of flares at the weekend. Flares were spotted off Roundstone which led to an extensive search mission in the area. It is the latest in a series of  flare sightings in the area. Sources believe the cause of the problem may be expired flares let off from land.

Related Safety posts

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Safety News


Rescue News from RNLI Lifeboats in Ireland


Coast Guard News from Ireland


Water Safety News from Ireland

Marine Casualty Investigation Board News

Marine Warnings

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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RORC Fastnet Race

This race is both a blue riband international yachting fixture and a biennial offshore pilgrimage that attracts crews from all walks of life:- from aspiring sailors to professional crews; all ages and all professions. Some are racing for charity, others for a personal challenge.

For the world's top professional sailors, it is a 'must-do' race. For some, it will be their first-ever race, and for others, something they have competed in for over 50 years! The race attracts the most diverse fleet of yachts, from beautiful classic yachts to some of the fastest racing machines on the planet – and everything in between.

The testing course passes eight famous landmarks along the route: The Needles, Portland Bill, Start Point, the Lizard, Land’s End, the Fastnet Rock, Bishop’s Rock off the Scillies and Plymouth breakwater (now Cherbourg for 2021 and 2023). After the start in Cowes, the fleet heads westward down The Solent, before exiting into the English Channel at Hurst Castle. The finish for 2021 is in Cherbourg via the Fastnet Rock, off the southern tip of Ireland.

  • The leg across the Celtic Sea to (and from) the Fastnet Rock is known to be unpredictable and challenging. The competitors are exposed to fast-moving Atlantic weather systems and the fleet often encounter tough conditions
  • Flawless decision-making, determination and total commitment are the essential requirements. Crews have to manage and anticipate the changing tidal and meteorological conditions imposed by the complex course
  • The symbol of the race is the Fastnet Rock, located off the southern coast of Ireland. Also known as the Teardrop of Ireland, the Rock marks an evocative turning point in the challenging race
  • Once sailors reach the Fastnet Rock, they are well over halfway to the finish in Cherbourg.

Fastnet Race - FAQs

The 49th edition of the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race will start from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, UK on Sunday 8th August 2021.

The next two editions of the race in 2021 and 2023 will finish in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin at the head of the Normandy peninsula, France

Over 300. A record fleet is once again anticipated for the world's largest offshore yacht race.

The international fleet attracts both enthusiastic amateur, the seasoned offshore racer, as well as out-and-out professionals from all corners of the world.

Boats of all shapes, sizes and age take part in this historic race, from 9m-34m (30-110ft) – and everything in between.

The Fastnet Race multihull course record is: 1 day 4 hours 2 minutes and 26 seconds (2019, Ultim Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier)

The Fastnet Race monohull course record is: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing).

David and Peter Askew's American VO70 Wizard won the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race, claiming the Fastnet Challenge Cup for 1st in IRC Overall.

Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001.

The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result.

The winner of the first Fastnet Race was the former pilot cutter Jolie Brise, a boat that is still sailing today.

Cork sailor Henry P F Donegan (1870-1940), who gave his total support for the Fastnet Race from its inception in 1925 and competed in the inaugural race in his 43ft cutter Gull from Cork.

Ireland has won the Fastnet Race twice. In 1987 the Dubois 40 Irish Independent won the Fastnet Race overall for the first time and then in 2007 – all of twenty years after Irish Independent’s win – Ireland secured the overall win again this time thanks to Ger O’Rourke’s Cookson 50 Chieftain from the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland in Kilrush.

©Afloat 2020

Fastnet Race 2021 Date

The 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race will start on Sunday 8th August 2021.

At A Glance – Fastnet Race

  • The world's largest offshore yacht race
  • The biennial race is 605 nautical miles - Cowes, Fastnet Rock, Plymouth
  • A fleet of over 400 yachts regularly will take part
  • The international fleet is made up of over 26 countries
  • Multihull course record: 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes (2011, Banque Populaire V)
  • Monohull course record: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi)
  • Largest IRC Rated boat is the 100ft (30.48m) Scallywag 100 (HKG)
  • Some of the Smallest boats in the fleet are 30 footers
  • Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001
  • The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result

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