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-   -   Distress Flares (http://www.rib.net/forum/f8/distress-flares-3672.html)

Mike B 09 January 2004 12:01

Distress Flares
Not wanting to start a flame thread but just wondered others opinion.

On opening up the latest issue of RI and seeing Bear and his team finishing and firing what appears to be a handheld red pinpoint flare it struck me about the misuse of distress flares in this situation.

This appears to have become normal practise for finishing big events but surely there is no acception to the rules.

Do any of the CG members have a take on this - has there ever been any prosecutions or even warnings?

Concidering the publicity that the finish of races and events get I would have thought this does nothing to discourage the missuse of flares, expecially with some high profile sailors actually holding the flare.

Don't want to take anything away from the achievements but surely there are other ways to celebrate.



David Hickman 10 January 2004 07:22

Use of flare at end of races
I have often thought the same. I think it is a matter of turning a blind eye and that the CG are totally aware that it is going to happen so there are no resources tasked.

bogib 10 January 2004 08:13

It has become quite common practise in finishing races or even at football matches on the continent. Mainly usage of smoke flirs are during day time and mainly in good weather so I feel starting this thread has more to do with individuals own paranoyeing rather than it will upset any real SAR man. My personal opinion is there are nothing wrong celebrating completion of an event/race in this manner and I am an ex SAR person.

Manos 10 January 2004 08:15


Originally posted by bogib
My personal opinion is there are nothing wrong celebrating completion of an event/race in this manner and I am an ex SAR person.

Mike B 10 January 2004 10:02

Bogib - Manos

I know exactly what your saying - My concern is not the actual use of the flare in this situation, as it is clear that it is not a real distress situation. My worry is the x thousand people watching the event that may see it as an approval that there is nothing wrong with letting off distress flares.

For example see below extracts from Gosport and Fareham inshore rescues report.

"As the clock chimed the hour hundreds of fireworks light up the night sky. Among these fireworks were numerous marine distress rocket flares by cross referencing their position it could
be established that most were fired from on shore. However both Portsmouth & Hayling Coastguard reported flares fired from a vessel at sea about 6 miles from our Lifeboat station, the rocket flares fired from this vessel were augmented by hand held red pin
point flares indicating the vessel as in “grave & imminent danger”.

At 0022hours our lifeboat was alongside the vessel firing flares, on communicating with the crew they reported that they had no problem on board. The Incident was put down to the
party atmosphere and the freighter’s crew wishing to join in with those celebrating ashore."

From what I have read and heard there are a significant number of lifeboat launches to flares which are put down to hoaxes or incorrect use of flares I would have thought a zero tollerance stance would have a significant effect on this.



Brian 10 January 2004 10:59

Mike B

Cant help but agree with you.
What people do at continental football matches is neither here nor there.
If it's OK to let off flares when celebrating a nautical victory, where do you draw the line?
"It's Fred's birthday, let's let off some flares for fun.
While we are at it, why dont we all take turns to sing him Happy Birthday on Channel 16 ?"

Should be zero tolerance.

Brian (with a snivelling cold-so I've got the grumps).

Jono Garton 10 January 2004 11:44

They could use white collision flares at the end of the race?

Noddy 10 January 2004 13:10

Re Flares
Reckon some people need to get a life. If you can't tell the difference between celebrating a memorable win and a distress situation I pity you. As usual in this country of ours there are always some sad people who want to stop others having fun. If I am ever fortunate enough to win a race watch me celebrate with or without flares.

John Kennett 10 January 2004 13:13

Interesting to see a police officer suggesting that people pick and choose which laws they comply with . . .


Mike B 10 January 2004 13:22


Interesting stance from a police officer !

May be if I win a race I'll celebrate by robbing a bank, because its ok by you ?

NB if you took the time to read the thread in full you'd see that it is not the race situation I had concern over its the possible encouragement this gives to others.

I hope that its your boat that is in need of a lifeboat while they are investigating a celebratory new year flare and not mine.
(Sorry if that seems harsh).


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