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Except that, say your outback of barrier, hit a ufo, boat went down in a couple of minutes. It's winter, your in the water in your flash lifejacket with just your PLB. In the hour ( if your lucky) it takes for the signal to be received, verified, local sar resources tasked, and a helo to get to the position, youve died of hypothermia. Meanwhile 1/2 a mile away is a fishing boat unaware of the problem, that could have saved you if they were aware. Which any type of flare could have done.

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So two points on that, sorry three points.

I don't count out the back of Gt Barrier as inside the Hauraki Gulf, of which I've been advocating not needing a life raft. So, in any case I'd just hop into th dinghy I have to carry. Outside of the barrier is a different proposition and I would take different / more gear if I were heading out there. It is further away and more isolated than the Gulf.

 

The PLB is just one form of comms, as we have to carry at least two, I'd use th VHF to broadcast said plight to nearby boats.

 

Thirdly, it just doesn't happen.

When was the last time a boat sunk completely (I.e. Not just took on water but actually sunk) and did so very quickly?

Yes boats hit things and boats take on water, but they just don't sink that fast. Worst case is loosing the keel and rolling over (happened near Tauranga a few years back, two guys, one drowned) sad case, but the boat was still afloat.

 

Of course you can carry more gear and be "safer", but there is a law of diminishing benefit for the increased cost. Two forms of Comms are good, but three, four or five forms of comms don't really add much, and I believe if one of those forms are pyrotechnics that cost a lot, are single use, rely on a third party seeing them, then acting on seeing it, and need to be replaced every 3 years, then it's better to choose two other forms of comms, such as VHF and PLB.

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One example of a boat that sank very quickly was Gypsy. As that happened in front of Queens Wharf, I don't think raising the alarm was an issue.

Several years ago there was a case of a yacht going under a barge. It hit the tow line at night. Believe the boat was returning from the islands and the helmsman had lost his glasses earlier in the trip, didn't recognise the tug lights. All went downhill from there. May have been off Kawau?

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Here's an example of a launch that reportedly sunk up Northland in 2006 after a suspected whale strike within 10 minutes.

 

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10364398

 

 

Thirdly, it just doesn't happen.
When was the last time a boat sunk completely (I.e. Not just took on water but actually sunk) and did so very quickly?
Yes boats hit things and boats take on water, but they just don't sink that fast. Worst case is loosing the keel and rolling over (happened near Tauranga a few years back, two guys, one drowned) sad case, but the boat was still afloat.

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I see in the latest Professional Skipper magazine it talks about the commissioning of the NZ  MEOSAR (Medium Earth Orbit SAR) receiving station.   The big advantages being increased number of satellites and reduced notification time.  While operating in test mode it picked up and relayed a PLB signal from a tramper in 4 minutes, 50 minutes sooner than the existing system would have.

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Here's an example of a launch that reportedly sunk up Northland in 2006 after a suspected whale strike within 10 minutes.

 

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10364398

Hay thanks for the link Farrari. Its really good to get an account of an incident and what actually happened.

 

I like this statement from the article:

"I wanted to get the beacons and pretty quick, and grabbed my wife's bag on the way out. ... They were all screaming at me, but if I didn't get the beacons we'd be in trouble."

 

In the context of this thread, they didn't use flares at all. The guy put out a mayday call (assuming on VHF) and then put a high priority on getting hold of his beacons (EPIRB or PLB). The other key thing is they got into an inflatable dinghy. So that is a good example of a crew needing to get into to dinghy asap. 

 

Am I prepared? If I'm cruising with the kids, we will be towing a big inflatable (the one that is too big to fit on deck for racing). I normally have my PLB on my person. I do need to update the boats EPIRB, and am keen to get one with the GPS and on MEOSART, so has the quick response time. My PLB already has GPS.

 

I have been giving some thought to the benefit of flares. They may be of use to show your location to rescue boats, after a mayday has been issued, i.e. position marker. Then I consider the short term nature that a flare burns for, so in that context an LED flare is far more beneficial. Wouldn't want to let your flares off before the rescuing boats have got around Cape Brett, only to have non left once they are in the zone looking for you.

 

What it does make me think about, is making sure a grab bag is handy. We could debate all day what to have in a grab bag, but having one accessible is probably a whole lot more important than its specific contents I think. (mine still has a mirror and cylume sticks in it...)

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I started writing up my own experience and then ran out of time.  Short version, heaps of water flooding in (split raw water pipe and engine running), not clear at the time why, prepared to get off the boat, beautiful day, just north of Coromandel.  It took the CG about 40min at full speed to get to us, they beat the local harbour master.  Police helicopter was called off when I identified the problem.  There were other boats around but none close enough to call to or signal easily.  Had we actually had to abandon (the family had the tender ready, grab bag, EPIRB, life jackets and phones etc. and were standing on the transom while I lifted the floor) I would have let a flare go.  I would not rely on the VHF, a phone, flare or EPIRB.  For what a flare costs, it is cheap if you ever need it. We carry all of them, we go over every now and then what we are going to do if we start to sink, just like I explain to new people on the boat where the life jackets, extinguishers are etc.

 

Flares will look cheap after the fact when something goes wrong.

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Well Mr Fish with your heavy reliance on lectronics and hope please don't take my name in vain when I don't respond to your distress even though I'm only 100mts away. Not one of the things you prefer will alert me to the fact you are in the crap or even get my attention. Should some people in places far away actually get a message from one of your lectronics, and you won't know if they have until someone turns up some time later, they won't be able to alert me either.

 

But rest assured a wee undetermined while later a helicopter will hopefully arrive and make a pleasant change for us to look at. After what could be a few to quite a few more minutes that may just make us think 'Hang on, why are they orbiting over there?' so at that stage we may guess someone is in the pooh and think about helping. That could be quite a few hours after you notice your problem though so I hope you'll all wet suited up and prepared for fending off hypothermia while you watch us pull all those fish aboard.

 

If only you'd had one simple flare, I would have had you and yours in my cockpit 5 minutes later.

 

 

Auckland Airport, all airports, have flares on hand to instruct aircraft should something happen. Chch used some in a recent earthquake to alert aircraft to danger, in this case red ones shouting to all the aircraft (some many miles away) 'do not land here, major f**k up in progress'. If the aviation industry which has far more serious and advanced lectronics than marine uses, still has and still uses flares one does have to wonder why you think your lectronics are so much better.

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But still there are no accounts / examples of when a flare has actually been used in anger.

Does that not indicate that the other means of communication are reliable and effective?

Certainly you can never rely on one form of communication, that is why we have more than one. But how many is enough?

 

 

Technology is changing. Its a bit like paying a bill. You can write a cheque, take it to the bank, que in the que, and then hand it over, or log onto internet banking and do it all without getting out of your chair. If your in the iPhone generation, you can even pay the bill walking down the road, on the bus or even from KM's cockpit. Flares are a single use, one point in time device. Yes they could be useful, but their importance is diminishing with advancements of other options.

 

Appreciate you account dutyfree. understanding what happened to other people is a great educator.

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About 1987 going past Tutukaka at about 5.00pm,saw a person waving a tea towel/rag etc,we went pass and it  still waving,we went back to see what the problem was."I have lost my diver heading that direction"so we proceeded and located diver,tow him back to the  runabout,when sorted asked why didn't you use the vhf?"I Don't know how"what about a flare??"we have I don't how" why didn't you cut the anchor warp so you drift in the right direction?"do you know price of a new anchor and thanks you can go now"

some people,if she let a flare off the game club would of seen it,patrons at pub would've seen it

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LED flare range 10nm in ideal conditions as long as the flare is 27 meters above sea level. For one of us standing on our boats with arms stretched upwards that range drops to below 3nm.  Someone swimming in the water i.e. no feet above sea level, can see a parachute flare over 35nm away.

 

The LED flare is pinpoint by it's nature and interestingly none of the spiel with the only approved LED flare has any output numbers. Some unapproved similar ones talk of 400 to 1000 lumen output. A parachute flare puts out over 377,000 lumens.

 

The only approved LED flare is useless in daylight so it comes with a 3ft x 3ft orange sheet.

 

 

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Very recent; http://i.stuff.co.nz/national/86764660/kayak-fisherman-found-clinging-to-paddle-in-bay-of-plenty

 

A Led flare would have achieved the same result however.

Nope it wouldn't, the LED flare doesn't work in daylight, that's why it comes with a bit of orange cloth to wave ;)

 

I'm not against the LED flare but I just can't make a logical argument as to why I would want to limit my visible range to 3.5nm when I currently have 35nm and drastically drop from my current 3800 sq miles of coverage down to only 30 sq miles by leaving chutes at home. The LED is effectively the same thing as red handhelds.

 

As a fyi, some of my pyros will live right next to the switch that activates the enhanced version of the LED flare I've fitted to my boat, which is right next to the fully fired up AIS system I also have :P

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But still there are no accounts / examples of when a flare has actually been used in anger.

Does that not indicate that the other means of communication are reliable and effective?.

When Aztec was lost in the Welly to Gisborne race, it was a flare that attracted the attention of another competitor, who arrived in time to rescue the crew as the yacht went down.

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Ha - that was over 100years ago HT. the Californian's skipper was an idiot. They clearly saw the flares - knew they were flares but ignored them. Can't blame that on the flares.

Flares were standardised because of that so that even a idiot can recognise them.

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Ha - that was over 100years ago HT. the Californian's skipper was an idiot. They clearly saw the flares - knew they were flares but ignored them. Can't blame that on the flares.

Flares were standardised because of that so that even a idiot can recognise them.

Still applies today,Idiots,ask my nephew,lucky some one shore reported it as another vessel went passed and waved.

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