New RYA advice on carrying distress equipment

New RYA advice on carrying distress equipment love tham or loathe them, most yachtsmen have always accepted that flares are a necessary part of their safety kit. Ever since the Titanic went down, and new Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) were put in place, flares have played their part.

The long standing use of flares has meant that we have always accepted the necessity of carrying a large amount of explosives in our boats.

however, the fact is that new technology has brought along far more sophisticated locating devices such as EPIRBS and VHF DSC which, you could argue, have lessened the importance of flares.

Revised advice
It was with this in mind that  the RYA opted to revise its guidelines regarding carrying flares onboard. The new guidelines, for skippers of pleasure craft under 13.7m in length, provide information on the combinations of equipment you could consider carrying and using depending upon the type of your vessel and where you use it.

The RYA's Cruising Manager Stuart Carruthers explained: “Our revised guidance will allow boaters to make informed decisions about the types of equipment they choose to carry.

"We are not saying don’t carry flares, but combined with modern devices you might not need to carry as many as previously recommended; think about what you want on board as you may prefer other methods for alerting attention.  

“EPIRBs and VHF DSC are both reliable alternative alerting methods to the use of parachute flares to indicate distress, however the alternatives to flares for pinpointing vessels in need of assistance are less reliable, therefore flares remain the recommended means for location in the final mile for the time being.”

Further reading
If you want to know more about the revised guidelines, there is an article in the latest RYA Magazine discussing the implications. alternatively, the RYA website has full guidelines.