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Old 15-03-2013, 13:54   #61
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Re: Required

Dockhead,
What is your feedback about using the HX851 as a "general purpose" handheld VHF? I see the merit of a DSC handheld in addition to my fixed DSC VHF, but is it suitable for everyday use?

Alain
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Old 15-03-2013, 14:09   #62
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Within the USA the Coast Guard does not require flares, but you need to instead have a distress flag (no problem) and a signalling lamp that will automatically broadcast an SOS in Morse Code. The catch is that the light must be Coast Guard certified, but as far as I can tell nobody actually makes such a thing with the certification. Several of the major safety equipment companies made these a few years ago, but they all appear to have stopped doing so. I really think they should certify small strobe lights for use say within three miles of the coastline, at least for small boats. I did see some intriguing battery powered LED "flares" that can be set to strobe, SOS, or continuous. On SOS they would flash for 24 hours on battery power. Seems like they would be great additions to a safety arsenal. Not CG approved apparently.
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Old 15-03-2013, 14:47   #63
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Re: Required

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+1


Flares are certainly an expensive PITA. Wish they lasted longer -- can't they come up with better formulations?! But I sure wouldn't want to go to sea without them. When you need them -- you, really, really need them -- a bit like liferafts.
Not sure they are that expensive, £200 for an offshore pack, good for 3 years, works out at less than 20p per day. Cheap for peace of mind.
Real PITA is getting rid of the expired ones
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Old 15-03-2013, 15:33   #64
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Re: Required

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. . .and a signalling lamp that will automatically broadcast an SOS in Morse Code.
How many people outside of former or current CG and Navy signalmen would recognize a light flashing SOS?
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Old 15-03-2013, 15:41   #65
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Re: Required

Doesn't matter, if I'm that close to someone the VHF will be the best signalling device. Offshore it would be the EPIRB. When they get close either the VHF or a strobe or a spotlight at night would be far superior to flares. The SOS light would be just to satisfy the boat inspectors. Like I said before, I don't think flares are worth much either. I carry some cheapo ones to satisfy requirements. For years I carried some really nice French PFDs onboard that were far superior to anything available in the USA, but I had to also carry some nice cheapo CG approved life jackets in bags to satisfy the requirements. Sometimes there are the regulations, and then there are the better ways to do things.
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Old 15-03-2013, 15:51   #66
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How many people outside of former or current CG and Navy signalmen would recognize a light flashing SOS?
Me, me, me ...

SOS was still in use and in popular culture when I was growing up. Being a scout and a young sailor helped me ... ABBA's SOS song helped others ... to memorize it for ever.

The SOS signal is still taught and required knowledge in required boating safety courses/exams in Canada. It is still the knowledge the hikers and mountaineers acquire during their safety courses or orientation sessions.

So, SOS is not dead yet ... very easy to "broadcast" with artificial light devices, sound devices like whistles, and with sun and mirror (more less).
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Old 15-03-2013, 16:04   #67
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Re: Required

[QUOTE=sabray;1173200]I'm checking myself in regard to my opinion of government saving me. I don t think government mandates have effected my choice to carry flares . Without flares i have excellent safety gear. I have equipment that is more effective then equipment when the regulation was written.
We're I to be fined for having out of date flares seems stupid. I have redundant other means and really my old 2005 12 mm flares still fire.
Some if these rules just don't make sense. They are nothing more then away for someone else to think they have authority.[/QUOTE]

I think they are a way for soeone else making money. Seems like a regulation written in a bygone day by the makers of flairs. Has the expiration date ever been extended beyond its inception? I must have a bushel of the darn things. Be happy they don't mandate: liferaft; AIS; spare VHS; etc.
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Old 15-03-2013, 16:11   #68
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Not sure if anyone has brought them up yet but I found white flares to be useful a few times. Low visibility but a great way to make everyone around hopefully get a little alert and watch what they're doing. They don't go that high, they don't burn that long, they're not a distress signal, and you can use them pretty much any time you like.

I was in a really bumpy sea state one time and a tug and tow couldn't spot me, although I could every now and then spot his lights before the waves hid everything again. I was on the VHF with him and we could give each other coordinates, but a changing bearing rate matters more, is easier to work with, and means something. So a white flare went up, then another a few minutes later. Worked out fine.

I keep the flare gun in the cockpit loaded with white flares. There are red handheld and red parachute flares in the ditch bag.

If we started over from scratch right now, I'm sure EPIRBS and strobes would be higher on the potential list of required stuff than flares, but for their cost and longevity I can understand why they're mandated. Requiring a 20' pleasure boat to have $1000 worth of safety gear is a little absurd. Its their choice and the choice of their passengers.

And before anyone gets high and mighty about all the safety gear they have unless you can go to the ends of the earth with spare rudders, celestial navigation (no tables or calculator), and multiple life raft systems the whole thing comes down to preparing as much as you can for the unknowable.
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Old 15-03-2013, 16:16   #69
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Re: Required

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I really think they should certify small strobe lights for use say within three miles of the coastline, at least for small boats. I did see some intriguing battery powered LED "flares" that can be set to strobe, SOS, or continuous. On SOS they would flash for 24 hours on battery power. Seems like they would be great additions to a safety arsenal. Not CG approved apparently.
There is one, a relative newcomer, who got the USCG certification recently.
Not a SOS light but a battery operated watertight floating LED strobe light: http://www.navisafe.co.nz/products/navilight-360.html
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Old 15-03-2013, 16:23   #70
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Re: Required

Looks like that little Navi Light is certified as a navigation light, not an emergency light.

By the way, I have fired off various out of date flares on July 4 and it was surprising how many are complete duds, or how many misfire. Even a slightly out of date SOLAS grade flare I fired once was disappointing. I pointed it downwind and it went out that way maybe 50 yards, then turned around 180 degrees and strafed us on the boat. The flaming missile went across the deck about head high, luckily missing all the rigging, and then across the harbor above the wave tops until it landed in the drink just astern of someone madly rowing his dinghy to get out of the way.
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Old 15-03-2013, 16:42   #71
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Re: Required

Good for you Richard. You get a gold star for the day.
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Old 15-03-2013, 18:23   #72
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Re: Required

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hydra View Post
Dockhead,
What is your feedback about using the HX851 as a "general purpose" handheld VHF? I see the merit of a DSC handheld in addition to my fixed DSC VHF, but is it suitable for everyday use?

Alain
Very bulky, and I hate the lack of volume and squelch knobs. Otherwise excellent. DSC functions work great and are needed on a handheld.
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Old 15-03-2013, 20:02   #73
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Re: Required

When Javier Sanso lost his keel in the Vendee Globe his boat turned and launched him out of the cockpit. Luckily he was able to get to the boat and release his life raft but because of the rough seas he could not attach it to his overturned hull. They drifted apart and when the helicopter arrived to pick him up his last hand held flare showed the search crew where he was. It was night and the SAR team would have had very little hover time. I bet he was glad he had flares in the raft kit.
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Old 15-03-2013, 21:32   #74
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How many people outside of former or current CG and Navy signalmen would recognize a light flashing SOS?
Well, every HAM too start with... seascouts?
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Old 16-03-2013, 09:55   #75
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Re: Required

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I am a fan of redundency and also of Murphy's Law...

Had a friend abandon her sinking boat a couple of years ago... Just prior to getting into the liferaft, a wave washed over the cockpit and took their ditch bag with it.

Since we are playing what if.... Supose that had been the EPIRB and now it is floating away happily directing rescuers within 100 meters of its location....

Flares and smoke would alert rescuers where you were, not where the EPIRB was flotaing, even if it only saves minutes that could mean the difference between life and death in cold water.

As a mentioned earlier, it is not easy to spot a floating object in the water, even if you have a Lat/Long....

During my last STCW classes we watched a film by the Alaska Commercial Fishing Association on visual distress signals used by a person floating in the water. He waved and used flares and smoke. You couldn't see him waiving, but could see the flares and smole.

So with that said, would I risk my life on something as simple as purchasing new flares and a smoke canister every two years? I don't think so.
Losing the ditch bag is a real nightmare, the risk of which is the reason why they pack stuff in life rafts. I will pack a PLB in my life raft next time it's serviced.

As it is, I have a PLB permanently lanyarded into my life jacket (also a strobe light and diver's flashlight) so if I can keep ahold of my lifejacket, I've at least got that.
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