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Old 07-05-2013, 19:12   #196
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

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While I like to show the anchor ball, to reinforce rules and tradition, the metal ones are not exactly “yacht friendly” and the inflatable ones have crazy prices
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Old 08-05-2013, 00:52   #197
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I am still confused. The colregs have a specific rule (#37) entitled "distress signals'. It lists 16 distress signals, all the typical ones, and it does not list a strobe as a recognized or approved distress signals.

Are you saying that Solas has some different list of distress signals, that is different/inconsistent with the Colregs list? If so, it would help me if you would please post a link to a SOLAS document that recognizes a strobe as a distress signal.

What I see when I google SOLAS distress signals is that SOLAS provides additional specifications for the colregs signals (eg brightness, shelf life, waterproofness, how many must be carried, etc), but I have not been able to find that they approve any additional types of distress signals (eg strobes) not approved by the colregs.

Edit: here is a UK document that does show "international distress signals" from the colregs and SOLAS "life saving signals". The SOLAS signals here include some flag signals and aircraft wing rocking signals, that are for two way communication (things like 'it is safe to land here', and "I have seen you") but no additional distress signals and it does NOT include strobes (sorry this graphic is difficult to read). Edit2 : here is a full pdf that is readable http://www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum.../dg_185583.pdf

I believe the Colreg is THE list of distress signals and strobes are not on it.
I think there are more distress signals not mentioned: upside down ensign with or without knot tied in it, upside down jib, distress signalling laser, red laser flare, personal DSC beacon, personal AIS beacon and I'm sure there are more. The COLREGS are just hopelessly old, I mean who uses barrels to stoke fires on deck as distress signal?

SOLAS is a different set of rules, being enforced on most vessels but not private pleasure craft, which can comply on voluntary basis. I don't think the SOLAS regulations are available for free; I used to have them aboard and look things up for threads on CF, but it was part of the school books that I all dissed a year ago. They also have a lot of trouble to keep up with new technology.

I think the wording of rule 37 is that you must at least have one of the mentioned methods aboard, although I was taught to have at least 3 of them aboard. During a safety inspection, showing just one was enough. Also rule 37 does not restrict one to just the signals mentioned. When in genuine distress, anything is allowed; I have remembered it as anything out of the ordinary.
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Old 08-05-2013, 01:29   #198
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

The anchor ball gets quite a battering in strong wind, so whatever you get (if you are going to use it) it needs to be reasonably strong.

Two round bits of ply mounted at right angles are the easiest and cheapest solution. (It does not have to be a sphere, it just has to project a round shape)

The other other option is to paint a traditional round metal radar reflector black. It can be used as an anchor ball, but can also be hoisted in the rigging as an additional radar reflector when sailing offshore.
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Old 08-05-2013, 01:48   #199
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

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SOLAS is a different set of rules, being enforced on most vessels but not private pleasure craft, which can comply on voluntary basis. I don't think the SOLAS regulations are available for free; I used to have them aboard and look things up for threads on CF, but it was part of the school books that I all dissed a year ago. They also have a lot of trouble to keep up with new technology.
Nick You are getting a bit confused here.

For Example SOLAS V applies to all vessels including yachts and not on a voluntary basis.

Strobes in international waters carried on a vessel, are NOT regarded as distress beacons, There use is to "be avoided" , but it is NOT prohibited, ie they cannot be used to signal distress , but can be used for other purposes, particulary where no other effective mechanism is available.

Lifejackets are controlled by ISO/EN ( the MED directive in Europe), Under those directives a "light" is required, modern jackets use a flashing light, which cannot be regarded as a 'strobe' light.

The same is true for EPIRBS, the light on top is a flashing light , not a strobe. ( my SOLAS jotron unit actually just uses a little incandescent bulb.

EPIRB specification ( note not regulations) are set by COSPAS-SARSAT and homologated by various National or supra-national agencies like ETSI in the EU.

Strobes on EPIRBs are NOT part of COSPAS-SARSAT specifications, but are added at a manufacturers discretion.


So to summarise, a flashing white light, is NOT an internationally recognised distress signal, although the use of such light pattern is commonly used in beacons, lifejackets, etc. COLREGS affirms that 'strobe lights' conventionally understood as a high powered light, rather then just a simple occulting light are to be avoided, the conventional reason been given is due to the high power of such lights.

Its important to realise that many of these agreements are just that , and have to be translated into national law to have local legal effect. Some large nations do this, some nations merely accept the regulatory controls of larger groupings.

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Old 08-05-2013, 03:07   #200
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
I try to make all my arrivals in the morning... cross channel trips to Cherbourg put me off night arrivals...
even after I'd done them a couple of times it still got me twitchy..
If its been a long passage I've even heaved to,
to kill a few hours till dawn..
Hove-to to avoid entering Cherbourg at night?! If you've been there a couple of times, you can find your way into Cherbourg with your eyes closed. Cherbourg is the most wonderful, safest, easiest harbor I know. I usually leave in the afternoon and enter at night. It's lovely. Wake up in France, and run out to buy fresh baked goods to have with your coffee Makes me want to slip the docklines right now . . .

If you heave-to outside of Cherbourg, anyway, and take a short nap -- you're likely to wake up in Alderny!
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Old 08-05-2013, 03:22   #201
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

I agree, a battleship could enter Cherbourg at night.

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Old 08-05-2013, 03:23   #202
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
A little way back, someone asked whether the anchor ball tells you something you might want to know. I'd say, yes, it can. For instance, you are coming into a place where you are allowed to anchor. However, there are many moorings in closer to shore. The moorings have less scope on them than you will need to anchor near them, but safely clear. My anchor ball tells you that I am at anchor, not moored, and you'll need to give my vessel more room because of the greater scope.

Perhaps someone else here can give a better example.

I have actually seen power boats with an anchor ball displayed, usually on a support near the bow, and up about 3 or 4 feet from the deck, so some do use them.
The most important thing the anchor ball tells you is that the boat showing it is not under way and not under command, so it is entirely up to you to avoid it. A moment of doubt about that might result in a collision.

I almost always show an anchor ball in daylight. In the middle of a recognized anchorage this is probably more or less a useless formality, especially if other anchored boats are around (in which case I might not bother), but I anchor in all kinds of places, and often have to anchor at the edge of anchorages due to my deep draft.

Likewise, a motoring cone when motorsailing prevents confusion about who is supposed to stand on. It's rude not to show it, because other vessels may be forced to give way when they're not supposed to, or may simply be confused, which detracts from safety.

UK sailors are fairly lax about using day shapes, but in France you can be fined for not using them properly. I think the French are right here, personally.
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Old 08-05-2013, 03:38   #203
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Strobes in international waters carried on a vessel.......
I agree with all you say above.

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
I think there are more distress signals not mentioned: upside down ensign with or without knot tied in it, upside down jib, distress signalling laser, red laser flare, personal DSC beacon, personal AIS beacon and I'm sure there are more.The COLREGS are just hopelessly old, I mean who uses barrels to stoke fires on deck as distress signal?

Well none of those are 'approved and recognized" international distress signals by Colregs or SOLAS or USCG (Except the DSC which is covered on the colregs list - rule 37 item o). I happen to know this in detail about the laser flares and the mini-AIS after quite extensive discussion with various authorities, as I am on a committee that writes/edits/reviews the ISAF offshore special regulations and we have discussed/debated those two in great detail. So, just for instance, a ship on the horizon is unlikely to realize you are signaling distress if you use either of those two. The mini-ais "may" just looks like any other ais target (see detailed discussion just below), and the laser just looks like a randomly winking bright red or green light. The barrel of fire may in fact get you more attention that either of those.

AIS is in an interesting somewhat confusing middle ground - regular AIS transmission are position indicating and NOT distress indicating. The mini-AIS units will/should be transmitting a standard Message 1 "position report" with the navigation status set to 14 "safety related broadcast message" with the additional text "MOB active". On some AIS receivers and plotters this will display as a cross/circle, and may ring an alarm; but many AIS/plotters do not translate this message, and are not required to, and it just shows as a regular position, because it's not yet an approved mayday transmission. But if it should become an approved distress transmission it would then immediately also be covered by the current colregs list, as either "rule 37 (n) signals transmitted by emergency position-indicating radio beacons; or (o) approved signals transmitted by radiocommunication systems, including survival craft radar transponders. "

The mini-DSC units do transmit an approved mayday and they will ring distress alarms on any DSC units within range.

Now that you mention it, I am a bit surprised the upside down flag is not on the colregs list, but I presume they figure it is not an obvious enough signal.

SOLAS is a different set of rules, being enforced on most vessels but not private pleasure craft, which can comply on voluntary basis. I don't think the SOLAS regulations are available for free; I used to have them aboard and look things up for threads on CF, but it was part of the school books that I all dissed a year ago. They also have a lot of trouble to keep up with new technology.

I have project managed the outfitting of two superyachts to SOLAS/GMDSS area 4 requirements, and do happen to have a bunch of SOLAS documents. But as I stated previously they do not appear to add any 'official and recognized' distress signals.

I think the wording of rule 37 is that you must at least have one of the mentioned methods aboard, although I was taught to have at least 3 of them aboard.

That's not in Rule 37. It would either be in SOLAS or your particular national authority's rules depending on which is ruling. Both SOLAS and USCG require DAY & Night signals, but how many you have to have depends specifically on which you pick.
I am still a bit puzzled about the status of the personal mini strobes you brought up earlier. They are definitely strobes, and they are definitely signals designed to either indicate distress or attract attention (not sure officially which they would say they are but one or the other or both). And that seems to definitely be an official no-no. I have asked the question of someone 'official' and hopefully he will give me a definitive answer.

But in summary:
1. Strobe not an official and recognized distress signal
2. Strobe not be used to 'attract attention'
3. Strobe is allowed for purposes other than distress and attracting attention so long as it cannot be confused with any of the official and recognized lights or signals (nav or distress). So, for instance you can use one as a disco dancing light on your aft deck.
4. Of course, as you say, you can use any signal you want or have available to indicate distress (including a strobe), but other seamen may well not recognize them as distress signals.

Up the thread, on the anchoring balls, you were taking a 'rules are rules' position. To be consistent with that position I think you have to acknowledge that strobes are NOT approved or recognized distress signals. You may now be saying that you think the rules are out of date, but 'rules are rules', other people may well think the same thing about the black balls, and other seamen may well not recognize your choice of distress signals if you use non-approved ones.

I am off to sea for a couple days . . .
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Old 08-05-2013, 03:40   #204
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

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The most important thing the anchor ball tells you is that the boat showing it is not under way and not under command, so it is entirely up to you to avoid it. A moment of doubt about that might result in a collision.
Just being picky , but that is not the definition of NUC.

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UK sailors are fairly lax about using day shapes, but in France you can be fined for not using them properly. I think the French are right here, personally.
After three years in the French Med, Ive yet to see a anchor ball on a french yacht or small boat, super yachts often leave them permanently mounted on the bow, which is equally ridiculous. ( Its funny people think the French have lots of rules and obey them, Ive found the UK to far more officious )

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Old 08-05-2013, 03:47   #205
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

Evans

Im unsure what you mean by mini-AIS, if you mean AIS SARTS, these are valid IMO approved distress mechanisms

http://www.dnv.com/binaries/dec9_tec...cm4-442098.pdf

Its not in any grey area, alls thats happening is AIS receivers are being updated to handle the special MMSI number group thats indicates an AIS SART.

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Old 08-05-2013, 05:03   #206
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

I see strobes more as an attention seeking device (and therefore no more requiring regulation than lighting own farts!) - the meaning of which will depend on cirumstances. Could be "here I am - keep well away" or "here I am - come help me"......for the latter of use when someone is already looking to help you.

Whether legal or recognised by regulations is secondary to me - if floating in the water then a strobe could be very useful, if onboard and sinking then of use if folk know your situation and simply have yet to locate you. Otherwise could be somewhat counterproductive!, especially if used alone.
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:42   #207
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My McMurdo EPIRB has a strobe, not a flashing light.
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Old 08-05-2013, 09:10   #208
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pirate Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Hove-to to avoid entering Cherbourg at night?! If you've been there a couple of times, you can find your way into Cherbourg with your eyes closed. Cherbourg is the most wonderful, safest, easiest harbor I know. I usually leave in the afternoon and enter at night. It's lovely. Wake up in France, and run out to buy fresh baked goods to have with your coffee Makes me want to slip the docklines right now . . .

If you heave-to outside of Cherbourg, anyway, and take a short nap -- you're likely to wake up in Alderny!
These were my early days in my first boat... got within eyesight as the sun set.. no gps or cp's then.. eyeball navigation by compass and chart only...
On the chart.. and to the eye as I looked ahead... easy, peasey, Japanese...
Wall, choice of 2 entrances as I was to the W on the flood.. Chose the W entrance and headed in... then as it darkened the confusion set in.. and the confidence I'd gained pootling in and out of Poole after dark dissolved in a flash.. braking lights became bouys and I started tacking (21ft under sail) back and forth slowly.. found the wall... followed it round... very carefully.. found the entrance and made the outer harbour after a few scares.. after that it was more or less a doddle.. was 3am time I tied up... lol
heaving to 5 miles off is okay just judge your tack to the tide..
Done Cherbourg at night many times since and a few other places
when necessary or familiar with the port... but that 1st ever crossing sure left a bad taste in my mouth for night arrivals
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Old 08-05-2013, 09:35   #209
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

How would you hang a beach ball?
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Old 08-05-2013, 09:38   #210
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Re: A Plea For Decent Anchor Lights.

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Originally Posted by Weyalan View Post
COLREGs and SOLAS aside, I had always assumed that the use of strobes on PFDs was that you can generate high-visibility pulses of light for a hell of a lot longer than continuous light with a relatively limited battery capacity.
Please refrain from interjecting rationality into conversations where sailors are arguing about anchor balls.
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