Posts Tagged ‘navigation lights’

Welsh coastguard rescues man twice!

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Last week a man, we won’t call him a yachtsman, alone aboard his 12-metre yacht, called the Swansea Coastguard in Wales when his yacht lost all power and he was unable to start his engine. The Coastguard sent a lifeboat from Mumbles to rescue him.

Less than 24 hours later the same man called the Swansea Coastguard again after suffering the same problem. The Coastguard sent a lifeboat from Barry to tow the yacht to safety. Crew on board the lifeboat found that the yacht had no navigation lights and the man’s mobile phone and handheld GPS had low battery strength. No mention was made of a VHF radio.

The Swansea Coastguard watch manager, Dave Jones said: “When we give out safety advice to people going out for a trip in a yacht we recommend that people take adequate communications and navigational devices, flares, and check their engines.

“Unfortunately, this man followed none of this advice and set out not once, but twice, knowing that he did not have sufficient power to reach his destination.”

He added: “We hope that the yachtsman will consider full equipping and preparing his vessel before he continues his journey in order that we do not have to send [lifeboats] out to his rescue for a third time.”

This man’s lack of preparation and the absence of yacht safety equipment strike me as even worse than the Sheppey boating fiasco.

Nautical Knowledge

Monday, September 21st, 2009

I’ve been having a bit of a break from blogging, working on an exciting project. But now I can announce the release of our new product. It’s called the Nautical Knowledge and is an audio-visual representation of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS).

Yes. The team at The Boating Bible has developed a stand-alone download from the five interactive quizzes that are otherwise to be found on individual CDs in The Boating Bible Manual of Seamanship.

This means that you can learn, revise and then test yourself on five key areas of safety and seamanship:

  • Rules of the Road
  • Buoyage – IALA Regions A and B
  • Navigation Lights
  • Signal Flags
  • Fog and other Sound Signals

What’s more, you can refer to the Nautical Knowledge over and over again.

For instance, if you’re sailing at night and see a configuration of lights that puzzle you, you can scroll through the learning section of Navigation Lights to locate the vessel. At sea at night you need to know whether a vessel is fishing, towing or at anchor so that you can take steps to avoid it.

Why not get your copy today? The Nautical Knowledge download is available immediately after you have completed the order process. You don’t have to wait!

Maintaining a proper look-out

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Rule 5 of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) states:

Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision.

This rule would seem to be common sense. Who would want to have a collision, whether with another vessel, rocks, debris or the land? And yet, how often do we read of vessels of all shapes and sizes that have failed to maintain a proper look-out?

As skipper, when you’re out on the water, you must get your crew to watch out for anything that may hinder your progress. When they see something of concern, they should tell you its position and distance off. You can then assess the risk of collision and alter course, if necessary.

When racing, this is a standard part of a yacht’s routine. When cruising, it is no less important.

And if you are sailing at night, your look-out must be even more alert, as the navigation lights on buoys and vessels can merge with lights on the shore and become hard to identify.

Know your navigation lights

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

With Australia Day coming up, will you put the lives of others at risk by flouting the law?

Just before Christmas, NSW Maritime issued fines to eight skippers for not complying with the laws governing navigation lights. The boats were either displaying incorrect lights or had no lights at all. These fines, together with a further 16 formal warnings, were issued during the three-day Operation Lights On.

If you are going out in a boat – motor or sail – in the evening or at night it is mandatory that you display the correct lights for the size and type of vessel you are skippering. To help you with this we have created a self-test quiz – Interactive Navigation Lights Quiz – which is part of our Safety and Emergencies CD. Using it, you can study and learn the lights and then test your knowledge of them.

And one final reminder, vessels need to display the correct lights when anchored as well as when underway.

Arriving at night

Monday, January 12th, 2009

If you are unlucky enough to approach an unfamiliar port at night, consider standing off and entering after daybreak the following day.

If you do elect to enter at night, you’ll need to be thoroughly prepared. Well before arrival, study the chart and then make a chartlet that you can keep on deck so that you don’t have to keep ducking down to the nav station.

It will be very difficult to discern navigation lights – both moving on other vessels and static on obstacles and the shore – from the background lights of the port. Obviously this is the case when arriving in a major city but it may also occur in smaller centres.

Another factor is that at the end of a long passage, the watch system may have been ignored as everyone expected to arrive that day. Tiredness can increase the difficulty of arriving safely and lead to poor decision making.

In the Safety and Emergencies CD we have compiled an Interactive Navigation Lights Quiz so that you can learn and then test your recognition of the various lights that vessels are required to display. Our Navigation and Passage Planning CD has a similar quiz on the IALA Buoyage Systems A and B.

Murderous idiocy

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

What is it with people? Despite the obvious lunacy of not displaying navigation lights at night, people all over the world still don’t do it – sometimes resulting in the death of innocents on other boats.

What brought this to mind was an incident on Sydney Harbour in March last year in which a collision between two boats – one allegedly inadequately lit – resulted in the deaths of four people and the serious injury of three.

Two deckhands on a Sydney ferry who dived into the harbour and saved several people were receiving awards for bravery.

One said: “I don’t feel brave for what I did. I just feel sorry for the families.” He warned that it was going to happen again “because people are still out there doing the same”.

This is despite a stricter regulatory stance from the government.

What is it about people?


An interactive quiz on navigation lights is in Safety and Emergencies, part of The Boating Bible Manual of Seamanship. You can study and learn the lights before testing your recognition of them in different degrees of darkness.