Riprap & Product Updates: Safety Alert, Jeppesen Sold to Digital Marine, and More!


Safety Alert

If you have a handheld NAMMO LIAB AB orange smoke distress signal onboard or in any of your ditch kits, remove it immediately. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) recently announced that it has withdrawn its approval for the smoke signal, and it is now considered a Do Not Use product by the Coast Guard. According to a USCG safety alert, the manufacturer changed the signals chemical makeup in October 2013, without Coast Guard approval, and the current signal might spontaneously combust when dropped.

These smoke signals might be labeled and marketed as Polar MK 4 by NAMMO LIAB AB or as IKAROS by Hansson Pyrotech. IKAROS Hansson Pyrotech is the more current manufacturing name. Datrex Inc., of Kinder, La., is the only distributor for these products in the United States. There are approximately 2,790 signals with the potential defect in the U.S. market. Datrex has removed all of its remaining stock from sale and is working with customers to replace these potentially dangerous signals. Any signal with the above described branding that was manufactured after October 2013 must be properly disposed of and replaced with a product that satisfies your boats carriage requirements.

For more information or to get a replacement signal, contact Datrex at 337/738-4511 or, or visit

Jeppesen Sold to Digital Marine

Jeppesen (, a subsidiary of Boeing Commercial Aviation Services, recently announced that it is selling its marine business, Jeppsen Marine, to Digital Marine Solutions.

Digital Marine Solutions is owned by the Altor 2003 Fund, which is part of the Nordic-based Altor family of private equity funds. The acquisition leverages Altors long standing experience in the marine industry with its past and current holdings, most notably Navico, the worlds leading recreational marine electronics company.

According to the marine industrys trade journal, Soundings Trade Only, Jeppesen Marine, a major player in electronic charting for the recreational and commercial boating industries, will operate as a separate entity and will trade under the C-MAP brand name. Jeppesen will remain part of Boeing. Over time, Digital Marine will develop C-MAPs capabilities, offering enhanced charting, digital content and services solutions,

On the Water Guides Closing

After decades of publishing cruising guides, On the Water ChartGuides is closing up shop. Captains and self-publishers Mark and Diana Doyle-authors of PSs Best Choice pick CruiseGuide for the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW): A Mile-by-Mile Cruising Guide for Norfolk, VA to Miami, FL (see PS, May 2014 online)-have their sights set on new adventures that will take them far from the waters theyve been writing about for 30 years. The Doyles explained their reasoning behind shuttering the cruising guide business: Our books, and our reputation, were built upon really-really being there. We were current, accurate, and detailed. And that will no longer be possible. So rather than milk the cash cow and sell stale info-or worse yet, become yet another of todays armchair-cruising, Google-researching guide publishers-were shutting down our Apple iBook Store and selling off the remaining print inventory from our website. You can find out more about the closure at For more on ICW cruising resources, check out the May 2014 article online at

Leaky odeo flare?

While doing an annual safety inspection, Practical Sailor tester Capt. Frank Lanier noticed the clear dome light cover on his ODEO flare was loose and was concerned that moisture could get in. The Omni-directional-electro-optical (ODEO) flare is actually a bright laser strobe that looks like a penlight. It is designed to be a substitute for a pyrotechnic distress flare, but these types of devices have not yet received Coast Guard approval as such. Practical Sailor, which featured the ODEO in 2013 (see PS September 2013 online), is working to determine whether the domes loose fit is a serious concern. In the meantime, we encourage owners of the ODEO flare to check its dome covers fit, and to contact Daniamant (, the ODEO maker, if it appears loose.

Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on marine products for serious sailors for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising or any form of compensation from manufacturers whose products we test. Testing is carried out by a team of experts from a wide range of fields including marine electronics, marine safety, marine surveying, sailboat rigging, sailmaking, engineering, ocean sailing, sailboat racing, and sailboat construction and design. This diversity of expertise allows us to carry out in-depth, objective evaluation of virtually every product available to serious sailors. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser with more than three decades of experience as a marine writer, photographer, boat captain, and product tester. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.


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