sail-world.com -- Britain's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is concerned
Britain's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is concerned
Sun, 16 Jun 2013
Britain's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is concerned - and other safety-oriented organisations may well be too.
As you would probably already know, distress equipment such as pyrotechnic flares must be carried on all seagoing and most non-seagoing commercial vessels as well as all pleasure vessels of 13.7 metres in length and over. They are to be used in an emergency to signal that a vessel is in distress and that it needs immediate assistance.
The MCA is concerned because they are aware of the development and marketing of hand-held non-pyrotechnic devices or Electronic Visual Distress Signals (EVDS) that are being offered as alternatives to pyrotechnic flares.
Geoff Matthews spokesperson for the MCA, said:
'The MCA notes the likely benefits of EVDS such as cost, safety and ease of disposal. However, from a practical perspective the signal produced by these devices is different to that produced by a hand-held pyrotechnic flare. We are concerned that electronic visual distress signals may not be recognised as such, with potentially fatal consequences’’.
'Therefore our advice is that EVDS, for the time being, should not be carried as a substitute for conventional pyrotechnic flares. However, commercial and recreational vessels of all sizes may carry EVDS in addition to pyrotechnic flares and use them as locating devices. Their limitations should be recognised though and all parties involved made aware of the type of signal being generated.'
Work has begun internationally to research the effectiveness of EVDS. For example, the US Coastguard has commissioned a study which the MCA is positively supporting by monitoring and contributing views. The aim is to work towards recognition of these devices. To do this, EVDS need to be accepted as fit for purpose by the International Maritime Organization. A change to Annex IV of the Collision Regulations will also be required to give EVDS full recognition as distress signals. The MCA will provide updates from time to time as this work progresses.
For more advice to Mariners see MIN 464 (M+F) using this link:
Onesails.com - Workforce
OneSails is the culmination of over 35 years of experience accumulated by our team in design and technology applied to sail-making. [More info]
GME Standard Communications Pty Ltd
Leaders in communications and navigation. Their goal has always been to make products whose innovation, convenience and peace of mind can help improve the lives of their customers. [More info]
Navionics is proud of its superb cartographic database comprising more than 25,000 charts and port plans; the largest privately owned database of its kind, the only one using full seamless technology [More info]
Ullman Sails Australia
The Ullman Sails Australia team provides service to customers all over Australia with four main locations in Brisbane, Perth, Sydney and the Whitsundays. [More info]
Vicsail Sydney Pty Ltd, launched into the Australian sailing fraternity in 1983 and has been sailing strong ever since. At Vicsail, “We Sail the Boats We Sell”. [More info]