Sailor lets off flares and sets life jacket on fire

Flares Cause Fire

Most emergency training in flares only allows practice in letting off the more simple flares. I was intrigued to read that this week a British sailor whose trimaran had become swamped and his navigation system inoperable accidentally set his own life jacket on fire when he let off flares in thick fog. He had to remove the life jacket increasing his vulnerability dramatically.

It is a reminder of the potential danger of the process of letting off flares. I had done all my necessary training when I found myself with a boat in danger several years ago, and, being in a very remote area, let off a parachute flare, on which I had not been allowed to train.

The recoil, so slight on the flares on which I had trained, sent me backwards clear across the cockpit, stove a large circular burn in my chest and gave me second degree burns to my arm before doing a good job of lighting up the world around. In the heat of the moment I didn’t feel it of course, and the incident ended well. However it taught me a vast amount of respect for emergency

flares, something I had not acquired during training. In this incident Humber Coastguard was alerted by Mayday emergency call at 12.30 am by the yacht ‘Trina’, and he was luckily soon
found by the RNLI Berwick Lifeboat, so nothing lost, but the loss of one’s life jacket when your boat is sinking would not be a good feeling.

Graham Dawson, Humber Coastguard Watch Manager said, ‘The skipper of the yacht ‘Trina’ had lost his navigation system and let off a number of emergency flares to help us locate him. Unfortunately in doing so he had set fire to his lifejacket which resulted in him having to remove it.

‘It is always important to check your position and re-check it. We also recommend that you join and keep up to date the voluntary CG66 safety identification scheme. Finally tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.’

Story courtesy of Nancy Knudsen of SailWorld.com

Related Articles


Sylvan G3 CLZ DC: Luxury For Everyone

Sylvan’s brilliant G3 CLZ DC brings an entirely new level of performance, comfort and versatility to Canadian boaters.

By Craig Ritchie

While Canadians may have been slower to warm to pontoon boats than our southern neighbours, that’s definitely changed as we see more of them gracing our waters every year. The latest data shows pontoon boats now represent around 30% of all new boats sold in Canada and it’s easy to understand why – with their interior space and tremendous versatility, pontoons are near-perfect family runabouts.

Read More


Destinations

Cruising Georgian Bay’s 30,000 Islands: Canada’s Freshwater Paradise for Boaters

By Elizabeth Wilson, “Georgian Bay Beauties” (www.GeorgianBayBeauties.org)

The Plan

It’s a beautiful morning as we perform our pre-departure checklist, fire up the engines and prepare to release our lines. And if the long-range forecast of very low winds coupled with plenty of sunshine holds, that’s exactly what we need for the areas we plan to explore on this trip! 

We are departing Midland for a week of visiting some of the islands and anchorages within Georgian Bay’s “30,000 Islands” – specifically those along the western edge. These are the less protected islands which face toward wide-open Georgian Bay, where boaters often have to depart the small craft route and work a little harder at setting the hook but are then rewarded with magnificent western views, stunning sunsets, and so much to explore! 

Read More