MAJ Approves Electronic Flares in Jamaican Waters

Photo: Contributed Director of Safety, Environment and Certification at the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), Captain Steven Spence (front) is surrounded by the members of his team. They are (second row, left to right): Marlene Thorpe and Verone Frater; (back row, left to right): Royland Brooks, Hamada Fouda, Marcus Blake, Austin Lobban and Commander Henry Tomlinson.

Story Highlights

  • The Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) has approved the use of electronic flares by vessels operating in Jamaican waters.    
  • The electronic flares emit a flashing light indicating the SOS distress signal in Morse Code.
  • The MAJ has responsibility to provide for protection of the marine environment and safety of life at sea.

The Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) has approved the use of electronic flares by vessels operating in Jamaican waters.

Flares are used at sea by mariners to signal distress and to guide rescuers to their location.

Speaking in an interview with JIS NEWS, Director of Safety, Environment and Certification at the MAJ, Captain Steven Spence, said that the move is consistent with international standards.

He said that the MAJ has been monitoring the use of electronic flares on the international scene.

“We are aware that the United States Coast Guard has approved them, but they had not shown up in Jamaica. Recently, we have received queries from clients asking about the approval of electronic flares and since then we have seen some in our local industry. The Maritime Authority has now encouraged vendors of safety equipment to stock and purvey electronic flares,” he indicated.

Captain Spence explained that electronic flares are safer for use than traditional flares.

“There are no open flames. They shine for longer periods and are actually brighter,” he said.  They are battery operated, last longer and do not expire.

The electronic flares emit a flashing light indicating the SOS distress signal in Morse Code.

Captain Spence said the MAJ anticipates that vessels that are required to have flares will now go out and acquire them. He said that the authority will continue to approve the use of traditional flares.

All commercial fishing vessels, crafts used in water sports and vessels proceeding more than one nautical mile offshore are required to have flares on board.

The Safety, Environment and Certification Director told JIS NEWS that the MAJ will continue to work with its stakeholders and employ the most up-to-date methods to ensure safety within the maritime sector.

“We will continue to be forward-thinking and move with the times as technology changes,” he added.

The MAJ has responsibility to provide for protection of the marine environment and safety of life at sea.

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