Flares outdated, says RYA
As an official consultation starts on options for disposing of out of date flares, the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has made a plea for an end to the compulsory requirement for pleasure boats to carry pyrotechnic flares on board.
The RYA has asked the UK’S Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to review the requirement, arguing that they are ‘an outdated and ineffective approach to maritime safety’. It points out that better modern technology has made them obsolete and, besides being hazardous to handle, flares are increasingly difficult to dispose of.
Phil Horton, the RYA’S environment and sustainability manager, says: “Radios, phones and other satellite connected technologies provide safer, affordable and significantly more reliable alternatives to pyrotechnic flares.”
The RYA points out that flares are also inherently less reliable and effective than the better, newer alternatives.
The MCA is looking at alternatives for disposal, such as continuing its current contract with a commercial ordnance company, introducing a regulation system tracking flares, or requiring the leisure marine industry to create a system for safe disposal. The latter is the government’s preferred option.
The RYA says that if the MCA continues to require carriage of flares, ‘the only reasonable solution’ is for vendors to be responsible for recovering and disposing of out of date flares and charging a levy on the purchase price to cover the cost.