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Laser for Man OverBoard in the ocean

Dave_S

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Hi, 1st post, be nice :)

My wife and I intend to sail across oceans, the biggest risk is falling overboard and not being found. We will have all sorts of locating equipment but if all else fails it is hard to see someone in the water in bad seas, my thinking is it is easy for the person in the water to see the boat so if they had a laser they could shine it at the boat or in the sky? and they should be easy to see.

I have no understanding of the capabilities of lasers so I'm asking....

If it is night and the laser shines straight up will it be visible passing through the air, for how far
If it is day light how far from the person will the light be unmistakably clearly visible if directed towards them
Could it start a fire if it became switched on in a vest by mistake
What power / colour would I need
and the dumbest one for last can I use it underwater to scare off sharks

On the boat - worst case - we are taking turns keeping watch, 3 hours on 3 hours off, someone falls off soon after starting watch by the time the other person comes up on deck the MOB might be a long way away (or 20 feet away), the electronics on the boat allows us to re-trace our route but with currents the MOB may have drifted miles off the original course.
 



RB astro

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Australian laws prohibit possession of lasers greater than 1mW.
So what you propose won't be legally possible if you intend to use it in Australian waters.

:)
 

Encap

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What RB said above ^^^

Please make a Welcome post in the Welcome sub-forum

In USA there are laser flares available that are legal to help locate someone overboard but the do not function the way you imagine --see: https://www.practical-sailor.com/issues/30_4/features/4924-1.html
Laser flares are made by: https://www.greatlandlaser.com/green-rescue-laser-flare/

IF traveling in Australian waters, SOS Marine in Sidney NSW is the Australian distributor----While only 5mW output, they may be only for use in International waters due to Australian Laws, rules, regulations that apply to laser devices.
Check with SOS see: https://www.sosmarine.com/
PS - SOS Marine is a real deal serious professional rescue and safety gear specialist company.
SOS is an Australian company with 30 years’ experience in providing a different approach to the design of marine safety and survival equipment. They supply law enforcement agencies, high risk marine tactical operators, leisure boats, ocean vessels as well as 14 Defence Forces worldwide.
SOS is a Multi-award winning world class company for the design of marine safety products.….
In any case a laser flare should not be the only item carried with, for best possible chance of rescue---no one product does it all... Ask SOS for advice.
 
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Dave_S

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Australian laws prohibit possession of lasers greater than 1mW.
So what you propose won't be legally possible if you intend to use it in Australian waters.

:)
Happy to be corrected.

Reading the laws I believe they would be allowed. My interpretation is that =/< 1mW doesn't need a licence. >1mW requires "A reasonable reason", vague I know but as a life saving device I believe it could easily be argued it was a reasonable reason considering other accepted reasonable reasons are for astronomy or shooting.
 

Alaskan

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Hell with the law if your life is at risk. You just need to have them without being caught, or intercepted when being mailed to you. Have someone build it for you, or put it together yourself from modules might be a better wait to go, but water proofing another problem. In the USA it is illegal to use some radio frequencies, but if an emergency, not illegal, I wonder if the same with your law too.
 

yoonie

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As a captain and sailing instructor myself , I share your fear of MOB.
I must say that yes it crossed my mind many times that providing a pointing devices to the crew for risky night manoeuver would be a great plus, however the cost and the not practical side of it refrains me even to get one waterproof for myself)

One thing for sure, don't count on this to save anyone's life. Equip your life vest with longlasting flashlight that turn's on when in contact with salty water (they ve became mandatory by law for night sailing in my instructor role).
Remember that to shine a laser towards your boat, your MOB must be conscious... this is not often the case and if it is, cannot last long depending on the water you are in.

That being said, if you are a laser enthousiast, then why not stay here, learn about laser safety, how to build, and then you might have your own waterproof build (good luck with it).

Oh and yes, sure respect the law... but sure you know when we have a MOB, we must throw overboard whatever stuff that help marking the area ; no matter how illegal it looks (not even talking about pouring oil to calm the storm).

Bon vent!
 

ultimatekaiser

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As a captain and sailing instructor myself , I share your fear of MOB.
I must say that yes it crossed my mind many times that providing a pointing devices to the crew for risky night manoeuver would be a great plus, however the cost and the not practical side of it refrains me even to get one waterproof for myself)

One thing for sure, don't count on this to save anyone's life. Equip your life vest with longlasting flashlight that turn's on when in contact with salty water (they ve became mandatory by law for night sailing in my instructor role).
Remember that to shine a laser towards your boat, your MOB must be conscious... this is not often the case and if it is, cannot last long depending on the water you are in.

That being said, if you are a laser enthousiast, then why not stay here, learn about laser safety, how to build, and then you might have your own waterproof build (good luck with it).

Oh and yes, sure respect the law... but sure you know when we have a MOB, we must throw overboard whatever stuff that help marking the area ; no matter how illegal it looks (not even talking about pouring oil to calm the storm).

Bon vent!
This is pretty much my thoughts on the matter as well. There is no replacement for good safe practices and caution. A good life vest and a waterproof, very long throw flashlight is probably the best solution, but ultimately, like a lifeboat or anything else, they are a precaution. The best thing to do is to avoid needing them in the first place.
 

Dave_S

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Thanks all.

We have the strobes on vests, inflatable reflective markers, life rings, personal MOB AIS transmitters but reality is one person on the boat trying to drop sails, turn about, follow the course, watch the screen for the MOB position, mauver the boat without running them over, shine a spotlight, all in the middle of the night in a storm with 2m+ waves with white caps to get to the MOB is a daunting task.

The vast majority of MOB's with two sailers, the MOB dies.

If you had some thing that really stood out from the back ground noise and vision and took away lots of those jobs, something that you can just aim for and know that's where they are. Some times the simplest things are the best.

There is no restriction to importing parts for lasers that are more powerful. Bit of a loop hole I know but its there, I don't mind spending a bit of money but if my expectations are unrealistic then I get it, another good idea that didn't work and the link from Encap will do the job - Thanks for the link :)

PS
We have EPIRB as well, They are quite big and are really just for the boat, not something you would attach to a vest for routine activities, unfortunately you can be days from the type of help that can pluck you out of the water, the best chance is to be found by the boat you came off. The person on the boat would set it off but it will locate the boat not the MOB.
 
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Mosc007

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Actually the Australian law says laser pointer OR battery operated laser.
 

Encap

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Actually the Australian law says laser pointer OR battery operated laser.
Which/what Law or Act in particular---are there any provisions in the laws for licensing or product exemptions--is there a web link to the actual complete Law?

Was quoting the laserpointersafety web site: https://www.laserpointersafety.com/rescue.html Wherein its says, 3rd paragraph down " The seller also notes that the laser flare was not subject to Australia’s ban on importation of laser pointers, because it is not a pointer under that country’s laws. "

Laserpointersafety could be wrong, the manufacturer and SOS Marine as well but I doubt it.
Would make sense that in this case the product has been given an exception or permission .
Hard to imagine the Australian Law/Act, Government, and Regulators would prohibit a 5mW Laser Flare product whose purpose is life saving sea rescue off Australian citizens and visitors from sale and use and to bar any possibility of exceptions for specific situation life saving purpose under the law? Doubt the Australian Law and Government throws out the baby with the bath water but could be?
Astronomy club people get licenses to use so...

Does the Law prohibit Administrative decisions for legit good use or purpose or License apparently not.
The practical enforcement of the Act/ Law varies for State to State in Australia perhaps the Laser Flare people are have been given a License?
Licenses are given Queensland and Western Australia for the use of laser are issued on the basis of qualifications and training, safety documentation or equipment approvals. Apparently, the Regulator has statutory authority by an Act of Parliament in the matters it oversees. ARPANSA https://www.arpansa.gov.au/regulation-and-licensing/regulation/state-territory-regulators Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency has regulatory authority over lasers in Australia ----perhaps ARPANSA has made a ruling/determination or given a license to the manufacturer and/or SOS Marine allowing Laser Flares to be imported and sold for theri intended purpose.
Licenses are be issued on the basis of qualifications and training, safety documentation, and equipment approvals national + international
ARPANSA says "A license may apply to an authorized provider, equipment, a place of practice"
So, who knows---permission/License may come down to legitimate well founded purpose and documentation showing evidence needed --who knows?

Ask the manufacturer and SOS--they say and the Australian distributor SOS Marine say for whatever reasons the Laser Flare is not considered illegal and the do import and sell them in Australia without any problems so...?

SOS Marine web site NSW: https://www.sosmarine.com/ or one of their 17 Authorized Agents in Australia who may know or be able to find out the bottom line: https://www.sosmarine.com/sos-marine-agents-australia/
Contract info: SOS Marine is an Australian manufacturer in Sydney, Australia since 1981. Please contact us through the contact form below by telephone, or email. https://www.sosmarine.com/contact-us-sos-marine-survival-operations-specialists/
Address:
23A Rochester Street, Botany
Sydney, NSW 2019 Australia
Email:
sales@sosmarine.com
Phone:
+61 2 9700 0233

Laser flare Manuafacturer: https://www.greatlandlaser.com/
Contact info: https://www.greatlandlaser.com/support/
According to the manufacturer, Rescue Lasers have been on the market since 2001 and have never caused an injury of any kind.
 
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hakzaw1

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LPS.org is 'hosted' and written by Patrick Murphy who is one of the most intelligent laser experts that I have ever met. He is also president of ILDA. Any REAL laser enthausist will likely spend MANY MANY hours reading there-- MOST important are members who refer to handheld lasers as TOYS... every laser 'incident' hurts us and makes the banning of >1mW lasers a reality some day.

read what one person wrote about what happened to him when he thought a pointer was a toy--

HERE is part (see the rest at LPS.org---

Learn from his mistake — don’t aim lasers at aircraft
A California man wrote a letter apologizing for aiming a laser at a sheriff’s helicopter. He describes how it ruined his life:

I was convicted of one count of aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft and sentenced to 24 months in a federal penitentiary, then 36 more months of supervised release for a total of 60 months — five years — plus ordered to pay a special assessment fee of $10,000. I am very lucky the pilot was an expert and highly skilled at piloting the helicopter.


BTW Federal 'time' is day for day--NO early release ever..so he will do 2 years. Almost every person charged with a laser incident is banned for life on owning or using lasers.... ouch!



CXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

About LaserPointerSafety.com


Contact information

LPS address 2

(The email address above is not a clickable link -- type this into your email program.)

Purpose

This website provides facts and educated analysis to promote the general public’s safe and responsible use of lasers and laser pointers.

We strive to be a comprehensive resource for laser safety information relevant to the general public -- especially in the area of aircraft safety.

Goals

Our goals include:
  • Educating the public to never aim lasers at aircraft.
  • Providing background material for the press, regulators and legislators.
  • Helping manufacturers make safer lasers, and better inform their customers.
  • Making suggestions for all parties -- users, manufacturers, pilots, regulators -- on how to reduce incidents and improve safety.
  • Finding reasonable, practical solutions for laser misuse issues.

Statement of editorial independence

Analyses and views expressed on this website are those of the editor, Patrick Murphy.

LaserPointerSafety.com accepts limited sponsorship support from organizations and companies who share the goals listed above. We stress to all potential sponsors that LaserPointerSafety.com is editorially independent, and that their sponsorship will not affect the content or views posted on this website. Specifically, LaserPointerSafety.com does not necessarily reflect the views of the International Laser Display Association or any other sponsor or supporter.

Finally, neither the website’s editor nor ILDA are financially involved with laser pointer and consumer lasers. If laser pointers were banned, this would not affect the editor or ILDA’s day-to-day work in the area of professional laser displays.


About the website editor


The website’s editor has over three decades of experience with laser technology and laser safety, especially in the area of laser/aircraft issues:

  • Patrick Murphy holds a B.A. degree in Laser Art and Technology from Oberlin College (1981) and an MBA degree from the Keller Graduate School of Management (2006). In 1986 he founded Pangolin Laser Systems, which became a leader in the field of software for laser light shows and displays. He served as President of the International Laser Display Association (ILDA) during 1996, was Airspace Issues Coordinator for ILDA from 1996 to 1999, received the ILDA Career Achievement Award in 2004, and has served as executive director of ILDA since 2006.


  • He is a representative from ILDA to the SAE G10T Laser Safety Hazards Committee, the primary group working on laser/aircraft safety issues. In this capacity, he has helped to write regulations and forms used by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for evaluating outdoor laser shows. In 2000 he received an Award of Recognition from SAE G10T for this work, and an ILDA Certificate of Commendation.

  • He is a member of three ANSI Z136 laser safety committees; specifically the American National Standard for Safe Use of Lasers (.1), for Safe Use of Lasers Outdoors (.6) and for Entertainment and Trade Show Lasers (.10).

  • PAPERS AND PRESENTATIONS: He has presented papers at the International Laser Safety Conference, in 1997, 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2019, on the topics of laser/aircraft safety and audience-scanned laser shows. In 2009 he was the invited guest speaker at the 14th Annual Laser Safety Forum at Loughborough University in the U.K. In 2011, he received a Certificate of Appreciation from SAE G10T for work on Aerospace Standard 6029, “Performance Criteria for Laser Control Measures Used for Aviation Safety.” In October 2011, he was invited by the Air Line Pilots Association to speak at a major Washington D.C. conference held to publicize laser illumination hazards. In July 2012, he was invited by the Airborne Law Enforcement Association to speak at their annual conference in Reno, NV. During 2013, he helped write the FAA’s Laser Beam Exposure Questionnaire and an FAA document (in draft) summarizing laser hazards and mitigation for pilots. He was invited to speak at the July 2015 Health Physics Society annual meeting, on the topic of laser/aviation safety. In 2016 he worked on the SAE G10-OL Operational Laser committee, helping to draft a document on pilot education and protective eyewear, including running tests on pilots with lasers and bright lights in cockpits. He co-authored a paper with Capt. Daniel Hewett of the U.S. FDA about FDA’s Proposed Change to the Regulation of Laser Pointers, which was presented March 21 2017 at the International Laser Safety Conference. In 2017 he became co-chair of the SAE G10-OL Operational Laser committee, which in June 2018 published SAE ARP6378, a guide to help pilots with procedures, education/training and protective eyewear. In June 2018 he was an invited speaker to the NASA Occupational Health Meeting at Kennedy Space Center, on the topic of “Laser Illumination of Pilots: Health Consequences, Current Status, and Mitigation.” He contributed two chapters, on pilot visual interference and pilot eye safety, to the book Understanding Laser Accidents published in September 2018. In January 2019 he was an invited speaker to a symposium in Tokyo on improving Japanese laser safety regulations. In January 2019, he received a Certificate of Appreciation from SAE G10T for work on Aerospace Recommended Practice 6378, "Guidance on Mitigation Strategies Against Laser Illumination Effects.” He presented “Reducing Hazards of Laser Pointer Misuse” at the March 2019 International Laser Safety Conference in Orlando.

SO you can see that when 'Murphy' opines he is as reliable as anyone in the laser field can get....hak
 
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Mosc007

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Which/what Law or Act in particular---are there any provisions in the laws for licensing or product exemptions--is there a web link to the actual complete Law?

I will have to find it for you. I did some research quite a while ago. Lasers are controlled by the Firearms act in Australia. Not all states are exactly the same but very similar. They also have the paper work to apply for a licence to carry or import. They are reguarded as a prohibited weapon.

There is only one exemption. If you are a member of an approved astronomy club you can use them at astronomy meetings without a licence. What's weird though, There is no power limit. My 8 Watt Nubm44 is legal to use at the astronomy mettings.

A quick search comes up with Police web pages. They are just guidelines rather than the actual law. I need to find the official Firearms act.


This is open to interpretation on the NSW Police Web Page.

You will require this permit if you intend to possess and use a laser pointer of over 1 milliwatt. A laser pointer means a hand-held battery-operated device, designed or adapted to emit a laser beam that may be used for the purpose of aiming, targeting or pointing.

That can be taken to mean any laser that is a battery operated device is reguarded as a laser pointer.



I can see more miss understanding in the guidelines.


Please be aware that you can own a laser pointer of 1 milliwatt or less, but it is an offence in NSW to carry or use the laser pointer in a public place without a reasonable excuse. For example, you are an amateur astronomer, teacher, lecturer or builder.


You need a reasonable excuse just to carry a laser pointer < 1 mW in a public place. They have updated the law to limit < 1 mW now.



Took a while but I managed to find the exact legislation governing laser pointers. It is in the "Weapons Prohibition Act 1998"

Schedule 1 Prohibited Weapons
Section 4
Item 8




(8) A laser pointer, or any other similar article, that consists of a hand-held battery-operated device with a power output of more than 1 milliwatt, designed or adapted to emit a laser beam and that may be used for the purposes of aiming, targeting or pointing.


Notice the bit that says "or any other similar article". It still stipulates battery operated though.
 
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paul1598419

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Just curious. Is it illegal to own a laser pointer over 1 mW now? That would put you in a precarious position with your collection.
 




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