The Eventider's News


Issue Eleven.  Autumn/Winter  2008. 


Page 6

Scran bag!!




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This page will be a collection of snippets and information, gleaned from owners and friends, newspapers, magazines and scurrilous here-say as well no doubt,  hopefully all factual, as far as can be ascertained, and maybe humorous, we all need a giggle some times!  Have you found a snippet we could add?





October 2008.


  LIFEBOAT crews fear being scuppered by crippling new charges for using their radios from Ofcom, the communications regulator. The RNLI could see the price of using its VHF emergency frequencies rise to £250,000 under plans to charge the full commercial rate.

The charity, which saves hundreds of lives every year currently pays an annual £48,000 at a discounted rate of 50 per cent. It relies on donations and fears the move will have a disastrous impact on fund-raising. Peter Bradley, RNLI operations staff officer, said: "It's a lot of money when you think in terms of lifeboat days and little old ladies collecting pound coins."

"We could buy several inshore lifeboats for the same amount."

"The Government rely on us to provide this search-and-rescue service, at a cost of £124 million a year, but they want to charge us for doing it!"

Ofcom has set out plans to bring "market forces" into maritime and civil aviation communications in a policy it calls Administered Incentive Pricing.

£250,000 represents an awful lot of charity collections, even more so in the current economic climate so, if like me you feel strongly enough
about this, please sign the petition below.


November 2008, John Stevens find more snippets!

Microsoft donates £5m to RNLI in software

Microsoft is donating software worth £5M to the RNLI over the next 3 years.

Photo Caption: RNLI Chief Executive Andrew Freemantle and a Microsoft team taking part in a sea survival training teambuilding experience at the Lifeboat College.

The gift allows the RNLI to use Microsoft software license-free for the next 24 to 36 months.

Andrew Freemantle, Chief Executive of the RNLI commented: 'This generous donation will greatly assist the RNLI in maintaining its lifesaving services in the current difficult economic climate. This donation gives us the flexibility to continue supporting the roll-out of MOB Guardian, which could help provide 1,500 fishing boats with a safety system over the next 3 years.

Microsoft UK's Matthew Bishop said: 'The way the RNLI is using the latest technology to save lives is inspirational. We're delighted to support the vital work of the RNLI as part of our software grant programme, and look forward to developing many new initiatives in the coming years.'

Practical Boat Owner, 6 November 2008

Thinking of trading up from an Eventide 24?

found on the BBC website by Christine...



Saddam's luxury yacht up for sale

Ocean Breeze, the yacht formerly owned by Saddam Hussein, docked in Nice, France (file image)
The yacht could fetch offers in the region of $35m

The Iraqi government is to sell a luxury yacht which was previously owned by the late leader, Saddam Hussein.

The 82m (270ft) Ocean Breeze is equipped with swimming pools, an operating theatre, a helipad and an escape tunnel leading to a submarine.

Iraq has decided to sell the yacht after winning a legal battle with a Jordanian company over its ownership.

The yacht is expected to sell for millions of dollars, but brokers have said the decor may not suit all tastes.

It has been decorated in what has been described as "Arabesque" style, with mahogany carvings, gold tap fittings and brightly-coloured deep-pile carpets.

The ship, originally called Qadissiyet Saddam after a historic Iraqi military victory, was built in a Danish shipyard in 1981 by workers sworn to secrecy.

But, despite its luxurious facilities, Saddam Hussein is never thought to have stayed on board himself, fearing political instability if he left Iraq.

So for most of its life, Ocean Breeze was moored in Saudi Arabia - until last year, when it arrived in the French port of Nice and remained there while its ownership was determined.

A Cayman Islands firm, part-owned by King Abdullah of Jordan, had claimed that Saddam had given the yacht to them, but a French court ruled last summer that it should be returned to the Iraqi government.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the ministries of finance and foreign affairs would be responsible for the sale.

Brokers have suggested that in the current financial climate, it could be difficult to sell a vessel which is luxurious but not up to the standards of more modern yachts - it does not, for example, have a gym and boasts only one helipad.

However, offers are expected in the region of $35m (£18m), and one broker suggested the yacht's history could be "a good selling point".


Secret cavern found

under Lord Nelson's favourite tavern...


Colas workers Kevin and Steven Glover who found the tunnels

SECRET chambers outside the site where Nelson spent his last day on land have been uncovered by road workers drilling a hole in Portsmouth.

Council contractors were left gobsmacked when routine work revealed a series of hidden tunnels and rooms outside the site of the George Hotel in High Street, Old Portsmouth  where the famous admiral stayed before sailing for the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Conservation officers will visit the site today to try to unravel its secrets. The discovery has sparked excitement and speculation, with theories including an escape route for naval officers and tunnels used to store smuggled rum.

Brothers Kevin and Steven Glover, who work for Portsmouth City Council's highways contractor Colas, made the discovery while replacing a lamp-post. It was so unexpected, they nearly fell into the seven-foot hole they'd unearthed.  Kevin said: 'I was drilling through the pavement, but where it should have given way to earth, there was thin air. I was pushing down on a heavy road hammer, and it was only because Steven pulled me back that me and the drill didn't plummet straight through.'

Steven said: 'There's an archway into a room, then tunnels leading off in different directions. We found a horseshoe down there, but it's too dark to see much.  'We've been talking to people who live nearby, and they've said they could lead as far as Portsdown Hill. They think it could be an escape route for navy officers like Nelson, or smugglers' tunnels.'  He added: 'Whatever it is, we'd be really interested to find out. It'd be great if we have unearthed a piece of the city's history.'

The George Hotel, where Nelson stayed, was destroyed by Luftwaffe bombs in 1941.
In its place is The George Court.  Resident Caron Berry, 30, who has lived there for six months with her husband, said: 'It's really exciting. When we moved here we were both excited we'd be living where Nelson stayed, and now here's another piece of history uncovered a few yards outside.'

Near-neighbour Sally Cronin added: 'I've been here for 50 years. When we were children lots of the area was a bombsite and we were told there were tunnels all around.  'We were told they were smugglers' tunnels, where French sailors unloaded barrels of rum. In those days, every other building was a tavern. If so, they'd have been transporting it right under the Customs building in the dockyard.'

English Heritage, Portsmouth Museums and Portsmouth City Council have all confirmed their interest in the chambers and tunnels.  Council conservation officer John Pike said: 'It's always good when historical finds are made, and I will be down there in the morning to take a look around.
'It's an historic area of the city and I'm looking forward to see what we can find.'

Again thanks to John Stevens for finding another interesting snippet!


January 2009

RNLI Photo Competition Winners.

Click here

Thanks again John S.

Changes to EPIRB frequencies and the implications for mariners

There has been some confusion in the press about the impending changes to the EPIRB frequencies being used. Here, Safety Marine looks at what is actually happening and what the implications are for commercial mariners, fishermen, small craft operators and leisure boat owners.

The Changes

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has announced that from 1st February 2009, only 406MHz and not 121.5MHz emergency beacons will be processed by the international search and rescue satellite system known as COSPAS-SARSAT.

This will affect all maritime beacons (EPIRBs), all aviation emergency-locator transponders (ELTs) and all personal locator beacons (PLBs) operating on the 121.5MHz frequency.

The MCA and its partner organisations are now encouraging all mariners to take the necessary action to ensure they have an alternative means of alerting the rescue services in the event of an emergency, such as using a 406MHz beacon system.

The MCA's View

Commenting on the changes, Chris Blockley-Webb, of the MCA's Navigation Safety Branch, said:

"The 406MHz system is far superior to its older 121.5 MHz sibling. Each beacon has a unique code which means that specific information about the vessel and its owners is available from the EPIRB Registry, and any vessel in difficulty can be pinpointed down to a distance of 120 metres"

"Seafarers can still retain the 121.5MHz beacons if they so wish, but should be aware that these can only be used as a homing device for search and rescue assets and not as an initial alerting system."

How useful are the 406MHz beacons in practice?

The 406MHz beacon has now been available to mariners for well over two decades and has already contributed to the saving of many lives at sea.

In January 2007 the 406MHz beacon from an Irish fishing vessel 'Discovery' started transmitting. The boat was 160 miles west of the Isles of Scilly. There were seven people on board the vessel which had capsized and had no communications other than the 406MHz beacon. Five fishermen took to one life raft and the other two took to another. Unfortunately as the boat turned over, it punctured the life raft with the two fishermen in and it started to deflate.

Following the 406MHz beacon alert, Falmouth Coastguard worked with the Irish Coastguard to send resources to the seven fishermen. They were able to pinpoint exactly where to send the search and rescue team following the signal from the 406MHz beacon.

The Irish Coastguard aircraft 'Casa Maritime Patrol' located the fishermen relatively quickly and a nearby ship, the ultra large crude carrier 'Front Commander' was asked to turn around and send its ship's lifeboats out to rescue the fishermen who were then taken back to the ship, before being airlifted off by a UK military helicopter.

"These seven fishermen almost certainly owe their lives to the 406MHz beacon which they had onboard", said Andy Cattrell, a Watch Manager at Falmouth Coastguard.

"The two men whose life raft was deflated had been in the water for nearly five hours by the time they were found and it is incredible that they survived as long as they did. It would have been very difficult to find them if they had only had the old 121.5MHz beacon onboard. The crude carrier also did an impressive job of manoeuvring close to the life rafts, launching their ship's boat and rescuing the fishermen."

"For all vessels, from the smallest yacht to the largest ship, the 406MHz beacon really can make a massive difference in the time that it will take us to find you".

For independent technical advice about 406MHz EPIRBs, call the Safety Marine technical team on 0870 165 7424 or email Or for further information about the EPIRB frequency changes, visit


Is it worth keeping a 121.5MHz Personal Locator Beacon?

From 1st February 2009, 121.5MHz beacons should not be used as an initial emergency alerting device. The primary method of electronic alerting will be the 406MHz beacon system.

The COSPAS-SARSAT search and rescue satellites were originally designed to work on the 406MHz EPIRB frequency. However, the satellites also have the capability to pick up a 121.5MHz signal and relay it to the appropriate rescue authorities.

However, there are some problems:

  • The 121.5MHz signal will not identify the vessel or the owner.
  • The satellite must be in contact with a ground station at the same time as it receives the 121.5MHz signal from the vessel - or the signal will not be relayed.

Because of these limitations - and the fact that demand for 406MHz EPIRBs has increased dramatically as prices have fallen, the international organisations who are responsible for operating and maintaining the satellite systems have decided that it is no longer practicable to support the processing of 121.5MHz signals.

So is worth keeping a 121.5MHz Beacon?

Yes, definitely! What most people do not realise is that the 121.5MHz personal locator beacons were only ever designed to be homing beacons. This means that they will help search and rescue aircraft and vessels to home-in on your location once they begin looking for you. And all search and rescue helicopters and lifeboats will still have 121.5MHz monitoring equipment on board so a 121.5MHz beacon is still a useful piece of equipment.

For independent technical advice about 406MHz EPIRBs, call the Safety Marine technical team on 0870 165 7424 or email Or for further information about the frequency changes, visit:

McMurdo Fastfind MaxG with a FREE RNLI Membership


For a limited period, Safety Marine is offering FREE RNLI membership worth £64 and FREE Shipping to anywhere in mainland UK with every McMurdo Fastfind MaxG 406MHz GPS EPIRB.

This advanced GPS personal locator beacon has been designed to provide users of leisure craft, professional and semi-professional crew, delivery yachtsmen and fishermen, with the very best chance of being found at sea in an emergency.

Competitively priced, the Fastfind MAX-G will transmit a unique identification signal and your current GPS position via the COSPAS-SARSAT international search and rescue satellite system. This is then quickly passed to the regional search and rescue authorities who can rapidly get to the scene.

The Fastfind MAX-G has a built in 12-channel GPS, is compact in size and will transmit for a minimum of 48 hours once activated, updating its position every 20 minutes to reduce the normal search area rescue services need to cover.

This advanced EPIRB is affordably priced at £337.00 (inc VAT).

For a full technical specifications, visit Fastfind MaxG, or call 0870 165 7424

McMurdo Fastfind MaxG 406 Mhz GPS PLB

Old flares: Coastguard will still take them

Following a government review on the disposal of outdated flares the Coastguard will continue to accept them, but only by prior appointment.

Solent-based yachtsmen should call 02392 552100 to arrange an appointment to handover old flares. Do not turn up unannounced.

Commercial organisations are not entitled to this service and should therefore seek commercial disposal routes.

For other areas see here

Yachting Monthly, 19 February 2009

Found by John Stevens of course!

Issue 3
Some of the latest incidents reported by the MCA:

Motor cruiser on fire in the Solent
Ship collides with yacht in fog in the Channel
Fishermen rescued from sinking vessel
Canoeists rescued from the sea off Redcar
Personal EPIRBs
- Engine Fire Extinguishers
This month's topical issue:
Gas Alarms
Gas Alarms - What you should know!

Yacht fire Every year explosions caused by gas leaks cause serious damage to boats and put crew in great danger. These incidents can often have been prevented with the installation of a gas alarm. Here, Karl Pentin, Director of safety equipment specialists, Safety Marine, explains what you need to know to reduce the risk of explosions on board.

[Full Story]

10 Tips for Choosing and Fitting a Gas Alarm

What should you consider when buying or fitting a gas alarm?  Where should you locate the sensors and the display panel?  How do you choose the right product for your vessel?

[Full Story]

STOP PRESS – CORGI is being replaced!

 Did you know that from 1st April 2009, CORGI gas registration is being replaced?  Find out about the new authority, the Gas Safe Register – and what the implications are for boat owners and operators.

[Full Story]

What's New in Gas Alarms?

Take a look at the latest innovations in gas alarms – new waterproof, temperature-compensated and pre-calibrated sensors, and options for carbon monoxide and gas control systems.

[Full Story]

THIS MONTH'S PROMOTION - NEW Nereus WaterGuard Gas Alarm Systems

Gas alarm side view FREE! Additional LPG Sensor worth £60.
Order any Two-sensor Gas Alarm System before 30th April 2009 and receive three sensors for the price of two!

[Full Story]
Coming up in the next issue

Next month's issue will be looking at MOB equipment - how to find a crew member in the event of a Man Over Board incident.

We hope you have found this issue of The Beacon, of interest.  Do forward it to a friend or colleague and let us have any feedback or if there are any topics you would like us to cover in future editions, by emailing the editor at

MARINE SAFETY EQUIPMENT SPECIAL OFFERS NEW McMurdo Fastfind 210 PLB See this month's safety equipment promotions and offers
Read more»
ARE YOU PREPARING YOUR BOAT FOR CHARTER? MCA Charter Fishing Boat We are happy to help with advice, equipment specifications and quotations for MCA Coding
Read more»
Find a gas installer in your area

Read more»
 NEW Nereus WaterGuard Gas Alarms
From £235 (inc VAT)
FREE! additional LPG Sensor worth £60. Special promotion until 30 April 2009 Order now

Nereus Combined LPG Gas & Carbon Monoxide Alarm NEW Nereus Combined Gas and Carbon Monoxide Alarm
FREE! 4 Smoke Alarms worth £24
with every combined gas alarm ordered before 30 April 2009
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This one came to us from Safety Marine.


Portable gas cooker advice for boat owners

Safety advice has been issued to boaters about portable gas cookers with integral gas canisters following incidents where people have been seriously burnt.

The Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) and Hampshire County Council's Trading Standards service point out that the manufacturers' operating instructions say these stoves shouldn't be used onboard boats, although they are not currently banned on the inland waterways by the BSS.

The message relates to the widely available and relatively cheap, small, portable stoves with a compartment for an aerosol type gas canister. The stoves have a generally flat profile and are mostly a square or rectangular shape which is about the size of a brief case or cereal box.

With some of these stoves, it is possible to use the appliance with the pan support or spill tray the wrong way up, which has caused a number of accidents onshore in the UK. There have been few reported incidents aboard boats.

"It seems that with the pan support upside down and the burner on, heat is transferred onto the aerosol type gas canister in the body of the stove and after a time, the canister can burst causing a violent explosion and fireball", said Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Ken Thornber.

BSS manager, Graham Watts added, "We are urging boaters not to use these portable cookers in the poorly ventilated, tight confines of a boat. Even before using them ashore, people need to check the assembly and seals very carefully."

While inland waterway regulations do not ban these cookers, when not in operation, the stove and all gas canisters must be stowed in lockers that are self-draining, or on open deck areas where any leaking gas will flow overboard and not where it could cause a pool of explosive vapour inside the boat.

The advice from the BSS and Hampshire County Council Trading Standards is, before you use a portable gas cooker with integral gas canister, please follow these important safety points:
• Only use the cooker onshore.
• Stow the canisters, used or unused and the stove if it has a canister inserted, in a self-draining gas locker, or on open deck where any escaping gas can flow overboard.
• Check the cooker's condition before each use, if the gas canister seal looks damaged, or if the cooker or gas canister is extremely rusty and deteriorated, do not use it.
• Familiarise yourself with the operating instructions before use.
• Check if the pan support / spill tray must be turned over after removal from the carry case, to the correct cooking position.
• Ensure that you have the correct type of gas canister for your appliance and that it is being inserted in the right place and in the right way.
• Do not force the gas canister retaining lever into position. It could damage the mechanical linkage and the pressure relief device.
• If you have problems with the retaining lever, check that the pan support / spill tray and gas canister have been correctly installed.
• If you still have problems with the lever OR if you have further problems or concerns, do not attempt to light the cooker.
• If you smell or hear gas leaking before attempting to light it, don't use it.
• If any gas is leaking, ensure that it is being dispersed in free air well away from the boat or any sparks or other sources of ignition.

Practical Boat Owner, 7 April 2009




Sailboat Crashing into the Yacht Maltese Falcon. See more photos and news of the Maltese Falcon accident at:



Another from John Stevens.  It was suggested members mailed in with their interpretation of the collision regs breaches here!





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