Hornet News

Flares

Updated advice from MCA

The MCA has renewed its advice, with the publication of Marine Notice (MIN)542, that yacht skippers should still carry pyrotechnic flares for use in an emergency, rather than Electronic Visual Distress Signals (EVDS).

Some sailing organisations have campaigned for the MCA to reconsider its advice due to the difficulty in disposing of old flares, their limited shelf life and the inability to test them.

The standards of distress alerting equipment are set by The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 (SOLAS). Rob Taylor, of the MCA, says that there are no known EVDS which are compliant with the SOLAS technical performance standards, and added that having assessed the use of flares during incidents and consulted with search and rescue professionals, the MCA believes that 'pyrotechnic flares still play a crucial role in alerting rescuers'.

Only coded boats and boats over 45 feet are required to carry flares in the UK, although many cruising sailors also carry them.