Jump to content

Flares no more?


Recommended Posts

There is a movement in the UK and Europe to not push for Flares on board any more, mainly based on the difficulty of getting rid of old pyrotechnics. They say that with advances in satellite communication , VHF and phone technology that they are no longer required, the only issue with this I see is they all rely on lecky and if you havent got that....!

Perhaps I will persist with my oldish flares on board for a while yet. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

They must have a far superior VHF, Phone and Comms in general up there than we get here. Many phones can't get you from North Head to Gt Barrier....comment made by watching Akl-Tga trackers showing - dropped out - showing again  - dropped out again - repeat.

If NZ can burn 1000's of tonnes of carbon rich tires a year and it is regard as environmentally friendly then zapping a tiny number of flares is not a issue.....unless someone needs it to be of course.

Whose doing the pushing W, can you see?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, oh, can I comment? can I comment? ;-)

Actually, I might save my energy. I need to do some work so I can pay for the flares I've got that are expiring again next month...

Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, aardvarkash10 said:

Same kill-joys that want to ban fireworks...

The bastards.

3 minutes ago, Fish said:

Oh, oh, can I comment? can I comment? ;-)

Actually, I might save my energy. I need to do some work so I can pay for the flares I've got that are expiring again next month...

Just think of it as one of the cheapest of the many subscriptions you have got. Or if that doesn't do it for you just remember these numbers

Cat 1 offshore Flare pack - cost $210.00 or $4.35 per month over their 'allowed' lifetime. They will work long after you're told they won't. 

Satellite ph minimum CONNECTION ONLY cost - the best I've found so far is a monthly access fee alone of $65 or a '50 min pack- at A$510 which you need to commit to for at least 3 months.

Luckily you have Pyros or you'd never be able to afford to see your family ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah yeah, currently not sailing out of sight of land, got the flares for a couple of low key cat 4 / 5 races (despite my bluster, I still like to comply with the rules).

Its just that the phone works fine everywhere I go, the two HH VHF's kind of clutter up the cockpit, the mounted VHF has enough power to transmit to the moon, and the two PLB's onboard are always close at hand, or strapped to my person.

That is on top of the fire extinguishers I've just replaced, the additional fire blankets onboard, the new bilge pump, the new life rings, the special MoB recovery sling I got cause the liftering's are sh*t house for getting someone onboard, the special side boarding ladder, so I don't render someone unconscious recovering them from the stern in any sort of chop, oh, and the super posh 250 N offshore self inflating LJ's that will need a service soon.

That is all before I get to the MOX alarm I want to install, plumb the gas locker overboard, fasten my floorboards down, get some more f*ck-up knives around the place, sort out the batteries on my emergency nav lights, oh yeah, renew the first aid kit which is about 12 years out of date. Should probably re-stow the spare anchor and chain so I can access it as per requirements.

Need to re-fasten the hatch boards as per the rules (we took the lanyards off when we repainted them).

OR, I could just go windsurfing, completely bullshit free.

Fraction of the cost, can rig up in 10 mins, safety gear consists of an impact vest (Bouyancy aid) and a helmet, same cost as one flare pack. And I can go much much faster... with a black square top for under $1,000....

Link to post
Share on other sites

The only place I see flares having an advantage is all electronics down including battery powered, and your insight of another vessel or land and you don’t want to use your epirb, signaling torch/mirror/flags/v sheet or wave your arms slowly.

For that situation they are perfect 

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Jon said:

The only place I see flares having an advantage is all electronics down including battery powered, and your insight of another vessel or land and you don’t want to use your epirb, signaling torch/mirror/flags/v sheet or wave your arms slowly.

For that situation they are perfect 

In an emergency you use ALL available communication.

There is no guarantee that a vessel in line of sight has radio comms monitored, is aware of any epirb distress signal you may have sent,  or is looking directly at you in daylight and able to notice you doing a Watusi on cabin top of your slowly sinking vessel.

They may notice a flare, especially at night.

Nothing is a replacement for the other.

Link to post
Share on other sites

they mean epirbs

got epirbs broadcasting your lat/long to satellites and you can have a helicopter overhead in as little as 20min

at least according to some motorbike guys who broke a leg in a remote south island valley 

Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, aardvarkash10 said:

In an emergency you use ALL available communication.

There is no guarantee that a vessel in line of sight has radio comms monitored, is aware of any epirb distress signal you may have sent,  or is looking directly at you in daylight and able to notice you doing a Watusi on cabin top of your slowly sinking vessel.

They may notice a flare, especially at night.

Nothing is a replacement for the other.

It simply doesn't happen. In reality, you start with the most reliable form of communication first. Typically, and in my personal experience, this is the phone. This is followed closely by a VHF, either mounted (25W, masthead) or handheld, 5W sea-level. 

If you are really in the sh*t, then a PLB / EPIRB. There is clear examples and reasons why this is best and fastest. 

Flares are a 19th century form of communication, 1 step above lighting a fire in a bucket. I have seen flares at sea, and it is damn near impossible to get a fix or any useful information of where the distress is, other than a cardinal point. That is assuming the watch keeper is facing the direction of your flare for the 60 odd seconds its going for, not checking sail trim, watching the heading compass or scratching their nuts...

PS, if you are in distress on Bastille Day, you are fucked if you think someone is going to respond to a flare....

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, waikiore said:

Its the RYA who is pushing this in response to an enquiry from the DOT (England) 

I tend to agree with Aardvarkash

I'm more than happy for people to carry these as a personal choice. But I don't think we should be compelled to carry them anymore. That is with respect to the YNZ safety categories. Def not for Cat 4 and 5, I'd argue not for Cat 3, and to be honest I don't care about Cat 1 & 2, because I don't do those. But flares are in rafts that are required for those Cat's anyway. Possibly benefit for Cat 1, but given the overall cost of achieve that, I don't think flares are a big issue there (oh, and all the borders closed, so no Cat 1 sailing happening anyway...)

Don't forget, flares are not without risk to set off. There have been serious accidents in training with these things. I used to set them off regularly and drop them down sewers, until OSH snuck up on me and tapped me on the shoulder. Generally, in training, you would use welding gloves to handle them. What does that say?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Down sewers and you are still here?? 🙄😁
Have you seen the Vid clip of the Kid dropping a firecraker down through the key hole of a sewer manhole cover. The thing launched itself AND the Kid into the air.😁

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Fish said:

PS, if you are in distress on Bastille Day, you are fucked if you think someone is going to respond to a flare....

YES they will and they can inside 60 seconds, even if you are parked in Arkles Bay on Guy Fawkes night which is a proven real life Fact. 

Coast Guard got calls within 1 minute of the pyro being fired off by some muppets on Arkles bay beach. Responses came in from as far as Waiheke Island, out the end of the Pennisular and Tiri passage... all of which would have had full Guy Fawkes as their backgrounds.

And to correct your post even further (facts are facts sorry) when the pyro went off I could hear the calls to CG some stating a boat was sinking in Arkles Bay. There was only one boat in there at the time, a 930 called Suburban Reptile which had come up for the WBC solo race the following day (one it went on to win line and H/C ;) ). As it's wise hansom intelligence and all round fantastic guy of an owner thought at the time 'sh*t, we don't need a fleet of response to save the 930 that was perfectly fine, he better get hold of CG and let them know the pyro was fired by some land based muppets not anyone in distress'. So the wise gent jumped on the hard wired VHF...WTF, no responses so it can't be transmitting even though it passed a radio check with CG the previous day (turned out a later suss found a wire had busted 1/2 way up the mast) so he jumped onto the handheld. Finally after climbing up on to the boom trying to get enough height for it to reach CG he got enough to tell them not to send a response fleet to Arkles, everything is fine but send cops to the beach instead. About 4-5 minute a plod car arrived lights flashing but the muppets had left the scene.  

  • So you can fire off a pyro on Guy Fawkes and be seen, they are very very different than fireworks so it is very easy to differentiate between them.
  • If you put all reliance on fixed VHF you better hope like hell sh*t hasn't just happen or in that moment of need it you just may find it doesn't work. I've fired off 40-50 odd pyros with a 100% activation rate, even if one fizzed for a very uncomfortable too many seconds before firing but then it was 18 years old.
  • Putting heavy reliance in handhelds close in shore can lead to time delays while you run around trying to get reception well enough to get distance. NZ's coastline is not line of site VHF friendly in it's geography with many popular boating spot being behind hills.

Would a phone have been better? Quite possibly but mine is always turned off when aboard so by the time it's fired up then a search for the number to call and then do it, if any drama aboard is big and fast, have you run out of time?

EPIRB, a incorrect use of it for that situation and again time delays mean it could be all over by the time someone gets there.

Sat Ph, same as cell phone except at a lot more cost.

Even with things working against it the pyro did attract attention and a lot of it some from a long way off. It worked exactly as it is supposed to, the fact it was triggered incorrectly in that case is another story.

So leave pyros at home and rely just on Tech if you like, all that tells me is you don't value your or your crews life anywhere near as highly as I do. 

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Who really has their VHF on ch16 and if on volume down,so not much use,cell phone totally useless unless its the old nokia push button,smart phones have enough isues with dry hands unlocking it. Flares work for me,maybe a red stobe light??that should seek attention.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, wheels said:

Down sewers and you are still here?? 🙄😁
Have you seen the Vid clip of the Kid dropping a firecraker down through the key hole of a sewer manhole cover. The thing launched itself AND the Kid into the air.😁

 

We were ventilating the sewers, so most of the methane had dispersed. At least I think so, we didn't have methane meters to check back then. Didn't need them as we weren't doing confined space entries... Like I say, OSH snuck up and tapped me on the shoulder...

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, KM... said:

YES they will and they can inside 60 seconds, even if you are parked in Arkles Bay on Guy Fawkes night which is a proven real life Fact. 

Coast Guard got calls within 1 minute of the pyro being fired off by some muppets on Arkles bay beach. Responses came in from as far as Waiheke Island, out the end of the Pennisular and Tiri passage... all of which would have had full Guy Fawkes as their backgrounds.

And to correct your post even further (facts are facts sorry) when the pyro went off I could hear the calls to CG some stating a boat was sinking in Arkles Bay. There was only one boat in there at the time, a 930 called Suburban Reptile which had come up for the WBC solo race the following day (one it went on to win line and H/C ;) ). As it's wise hansom intelligence and all round fantastic guy of an owner thought at the time 'sh*t, we don't need a fleet of response to save the 930 that was perfectly fine, he better get hold of CG and let them know the pyro was fired by some land based muppets not anyone in distress'. So the wise gent jumped on the hard wired VHF...WTF, no responses so it can't be transmitting even though it passed a radio check with CG the previous day (turned out a later suss found a wire had busted 1/2 way up the mast) so he jumped onto the handheld. Finally after climbing up on to the boom trying to get enough height for it to reach CG he got enough to tell them not to send a response fleet to Arkles, everything is fine but send cops to the beach instead. About 4-5 minute a plod car arrived lights flashing but the muppets had left the scene.  

  • So you can fire off a pyro on Guy Fawkes and be seen, they are very very different than fireworks so it is very easy to differentiate between them.
  • If you put all reliance on fixed VHF you better hope like hell sh*t hasn't just happen or in that moment of need it you just may find it doesn't work. I've fired off 40-50 odd pyros with a 100% activation rate, even if one fizzed for a very uncomfortable too many seconds before firing but then it was 18 years old.
  • Putting heavy reliance in handhelds close in shore can lead to time delays while you run around trying to get reception well enough to get distance. NZ's coastline is not line of site VHF friendly in it's geography with many popular boating spot being behind hills.

Would a phone have been better? Quite possibly but mine is always turned off when aboard so by the time it's fired up then a search for the number to call and then do it, if any drama aboard is big and fast, have you run out of time?

EPIRB, a incorrect use of it for that situation and again time delays mean it could be all over by the time someone gets there.

Sat Ph, same as cell phone except at a lot more cost.

Even with things working against it the pyro did attract attention and a lot of it some from a long way off. It worked exactly as it is supposed to, the fact it was triggered incorrectly in that case is another story.

So leave pyros at home and rely just on Tech if you like, all that tells me is you don't value your or your crews life anywhere near as highly as I do. 

Yeah, but KM, if you were sinking in Arkles Bay, you probably would have been able to walk ashore...

None of that explains why I should be compelled to carry flares.

The flares I saw were on Bastile Day, whilst off the Channel Islands (France). Triangulated to the local port. I've never heard of a flare being used in anger. Best example is yachts offshore, that have activated an EPIRB, rescue vessel is approaching, contact on VHF, so the yacht sets off a flare to get a visual. Great for Cat 1. We could argue for Cat 3, but Cat 4 & 5? Seriously?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think flares are really good on a dark night out of town. People notice them, In town, not so much, Coastguard did a flare test exercise about three years ago, to check visibility etc. They let 5 different flares - including handheld and rockets off. Positions a] Motuihe Passage b] Bean Rock and c] Orakei.

Thought we'd get lots of calls from people reporting - I mean, 15 flares all up.

Total number of calls coming in to the ops room on that night - 8, in a city. I think that around Auckland Harbour there's just too many lights.

So - I carry flares for when I'm out of the harbour in the dark, and in the harbour I'd rather rely on my phone.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, KM... said:

And to correct your post even further (facts are facts sorry) when the pyro went off I could hear the calls to CG some stating a boat was sinking in Arkles Bay. There was only one boat in there at the time, a 930 called Suburban Reptile which had come up for the WBC solo race the following day (one it went on to win line and H/C ;) ). As it's wise hansom intelligence and all round fantastic guy of an owner thought at the time 'sh*t, we don't need a fleet of response to save the 930 that was perfectly fine, he better get hold of CG and let them know the pyro was fired by some land based muppets not anyone in distress'. So the wise gent jumped on the hard wired VHF...WTF, no responses so it can't be transmitting even though it passed a radio check with CG the previous day (turned out a later suss found a wire had busted 1/2 way up the mast) so he jumped onto the handheld. Finally after climbing up on to the boom trying to get enough height for it to reach CG he got enough to tell them not to send a response fleet to Arkles, everything is fine but send cops to the beach instead. About 4-5 minute a plod car arrived lights flashing but the muppets had left the scene.  

KM, there are many points in your post that simply don't add up. The first being that Suburban Reptile was actually afloat and racing. Surely that is a Suburban Legend? And the wise hansom intelligence and all round fantastic guy... who did you loan it to?

Jokes aside, that is one example, where everyone was up and watching fireworks. If I recall your story, it wasn't even dark was it? If you did the same at 3 am on a night that was a bit rainy and windy, how many people would have seen it? In Arkles.

Without admitting to anything, (and not in Arkles) I know for a fact you can shoot rocket flares and HH flares off at 3 am and nothing happens - in urban areas.

Sure, if everyone is up, out and about and watching fireworks, they may possibly notice a flare. If everyone is nicely tucked up in bed, its blowing dogs off chains, who is going to see it? The fundamental weakness of a flare is that you need someone to be looking, and looking in your direction, at the same time you set it off.

Now, I know I'm not going to convince you guys otherwise, and I don't really care. But surely there is no justification to have compulsory flares in Cat 4 and 5? We can argue over Cat 3. I'll give you Cat 1, they serve a purpose there. But Cat 4 & 5 - no chance.

Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, Fish said:

Yeah, but KM, if you were sinking in Arkles Bay, you probably would have been able to walk ashore...

None of that explains why I should be compelled to carry flares.

The flares I saw were on Bastile Day, whilst off the Channel Islands (France). Triangulated to the local port. I've never heard of a flare being used in anger. Best example is yachts offshore, that have activated an EPIRB, rescue vessel is approaching, contact on VHF, so the yacht sets off a flare to get a visual. Great for Cat 1. We could argue for Cat 3, but Cat 4 & 5? Seriously?

You must be a sh*t load lot taller than me.

No one is compelling you carry pyros but many think those that don't are dumbarses.

Horses for courses dude so mid ocean pyros could have issues exactly like VHF does in some bays we use like Arkles. That's why those who aren't dumbarses carry a full inventory for uses in as many situations as possible.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...