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Old 09-02-2010, 01:10   #16
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One milliwatt in Oz...

Having a laser device with greater power than one milliwatt looks to be illegal in NSW, and possibly in the rest of Oz.

Some of our local bright sparks went crazy with them a few years ago and this is the result.

Not a good thing to be caught with if someone's just tried to blind the cop chopper pilot.
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Old 09-02-2010, 05:57   #17
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Here's a link to Greatland and their products.
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Old 09-02-2010, 07:03   #18
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As a rescue beam like the ones offered by Greatland I can see the benifit. As a way to find markers? Good luck. A little experiment, you can buy a cheap pointer lazer for $10. At night find a stop sign about two blocks away and try to hit it with the lazer. If you hit it the sign will explode in reflective light. But how hard was it to hit with the lazer. It takes a very steady hand just to hit it much less hold the beam on the sign. Trying to hit a marker you can't see in the dark would take shear luck. An inch above or below the marker and you'll miss it. Now what it is good for. I've put 24"x4" strip of reflective tape on either side of my mast about a foot from the top. I keep cheap pocket lazers in my dingy. Coming from shore on a dark night in an achorage full of masts it makes it easy to find where my boat is at by searching the masts with the lazer.
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Old 09-02-2010, 07:15   #19
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But that's the point with the Greatland product. They aren't a pinpoint laser - it's a wide sweep that gives a much larger area. Go to their site and look at their section about how it works.

I don't have the product, I'm not affiliated with it, but I did try a prototype of it years ago. I have to admit that it worked really well to find a buoy in the fog that was pretty far away.
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Old 09-02-2010, 09:53   #20
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Rescue Lasers are meant as distress signals

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boracay View Post
Having a laser device with greater power than one milliwatt looks to be illegal in NSW, and possibly in the rest of Oz.

Some of our local bright sparks went crazy with them a few years ago and this is the result.

Not a good thing to be caught with if someone's just tried to blind the cop chopper pilot.
The Greatland Rescue Laser is classed in the US as a Class III(A) laser product. Because the beam spreads out, it is eye safe beyond 4 meters. I'm not sure how that translates to the the land of Oz? See the Greatland FAQ page at FAQ | Frequently Asked Questions | Greatland Laser and for a product review see EQUIPPED TO SURVIVE (tm) - Rescue Laser Flare Review

To repeat my ealier post, these are meant as distress signals. When you use one, you are trying to attract the attention of rescuers. If too many people start using them for other purposes, rescuers may start ignoring them!

Note that I am not in any way affiliated with Greatland Laser or any other gear company.
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:01   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ActiveCaptain View Post
But that's the point with the Greatland product. They aren't a pinpoint laser - it's a wide sweep that gives a much larger area. Go to their site and look at their section about how it works.

I don't have the product, I'm not affiliated with it, but I did try a prototype of it years ago. I have to admit that it worked really well to find a buoy in the fog that was pretty far away.

OK I see what you are saying. Just wondering what would happen if this became popular and you were in an area at night where several people, coming from different directions, could be looking for the same channel marker. What's the effect if you get a full face lazer shot from the other guy looking for a marker? I know you can't look directly at a lazer at close range. What would be the effect at a distance and how would the local law view this.
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:02   #22
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I believe that would work but why not use radar instead? it is much better at it and can see way further than any form of flash light, laser or other.

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Old 09-02-2010, 10:10   #23
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Perhaps because you don't have radar?
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Old 09-02-2010, 10:47   #24
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When you sail in a foggy area or sail at night and don't have a radar, you better put that $100-$250 aside as a good start saving for a radar.

I just checked the Greatland site and indeed, these are distress signals and thus only to be used in distress situations where you want others to come and rescue you. This is like strobe lights, some sailors use them for things other than distress and I once launched our dinghy and speeded over to a boat with one but they told me they use it as anchor light so they can find their boat back. I told them that I sure wasn't coming anymore when they use the light during an emergency (heart attack etc.) and they stopped using it. I think they just didn't know. I don't know what happens if the coast guard comes to rescue but I am sure they won't be pleased to find that there is no distress situation. I can even imagine it is illegal to use when not in distress.

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Old 09-02-2010, 10:55   #25
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I am not suggesting that the laser thing is a good idea. But let's not assume that every boat out there sailing at night has a radar system on board either.
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Old 09-02-2010, 11:27   #26
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I am not suggesting that the laser thing is a good idea. But let's not assume that every boat out there sailing at night has a radar system on board either.
Then they can use their spotlight while saving for one. Sorry, but I am quiet fanatic about mis-use of distress signals. I have seen people die aboard with others ignoring their distress signals. Changes the way you look at things.

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Old 09-02-2010, 12:32   #27
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I hear you Nick!

I was only taking issue with the idea of saying to simply use radar. That seems a bit of a cop out to me. I know not everyone has it, and even if they did, we all know that systems sometimes go down. Having a low-tech alternative, like the already mentioned spotlight and binoculars, just makes sense to me.

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Old 09-02-2010, 12:49   #28
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The Greatland laser flare is not a distress signal per se, it is intended to be a locating signal. You might argue that using the red "laser flare" might cause someone to think you were in distress. Perhaps, but they also sell a green laser flare which is probably a lot less likely to be interpreted as a distress signal, and is actually brighter to boot so probably a better device for locating reflective objects at a distance. The green one is more expensive at about $200 I think.

These laser flares are eye safe. The beam spread dramatically reduces the amount of power that could be directed into an eye at anything more than a few feet.

The beam spread also makes "aim" much less critical, so more suitbable than a laser dot pointer for finding a reflective object at a distance.
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Old 09-02-2010, 20:26   #29
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@SoonerSailor: They are Rescue thingies and you use them so they can locate you, not for you to locate a channel marker ;-) The green one doesn't have a different designation.

Those $200 are a big step to a radar set and can probably buy you a used one!

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Old 09-02-2010, 22:31   #30
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I think it is worth mentioning that neither strobe lights or lasers are recognised distress signals under colregs.

They may commonly be used for that purpose, but when they are used for other purposes, it is incorrect to state that they are being mis-used.

and no, I don't want to get into a debate about burning tar barrels...
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