Cost of safety equipment on yachts
by Michael & Frances Howorth
Pyrotechnics are usually items that are stored in a locker until they reach their expiry date and then they are discarded. However, throwing them away is not an option anymore as frequently the supplier of these new safety fireworks has to be paid to safely dispose of the old ones.
Ikaros red parachute rockets cost £20 each and a yacht typically must carry 12 of them. Then there are the hand-held red flares and the orange smoke signals to be added to the cost and, because the regulations demand it, four line-throwing rocket sets at £265 each.
First aid kits do not come cheaply, either. A Category A medical kit that conforms to MCA requirements will cost about £1,400, with additional equipment such as a stretcher adding a further £1,000. An oxygen therapy set, including the masks, will cost a further £500.
The costs of navigating safely can perhaps be measured in terms of carrying corrected charts and statutory publications.
David Store, who runs a customised safety service for yacht captains, estimates that a folio of digital charts would cost around £6,500, plus the costs of an annual licence. Few yachts are able to do away with the need to carry paper charts as a backup, and Store estimates a folio of paper charts for the Mediterranean will cost around £4,750 and one for the Caribbean a further £3,420. The cost of statutory publications for both areas adds a further £1,800.
Communications and the need for equipment that meets the requirements for a safely run yacht can often make heavy inroads into a yacht owner’s budget.
An EPIRB, the device that effectively acts as a portable radio distress alert, can add £500. The category 1,406Mhz, Sat2 from ACR costs around £530 and an ACR Pathfinder SART, which is used to alert rescue craft and act as a homing beacon, costs a further £420 each and, again, two are recommended. GMDSS VHF radio handsets cost £400 each. Many yachts carry as many as 10 of these.