I thought I'd put this query here, in the survival section, because those guys in the power boating section are often geared toward open water scenarios, and I'm a bathtub sailor =).
There is an old addage that says certain survival items should be kept on your person, not in a bag tied to a thwart or in your pack. To that end, I want to put a pyrotechnic signaling device in one of the mesh pockets of my pfd and secure it with a lanyard. The thought being if I go overboard/capsize in the middle of a lake or something, I will have, on my person, the ability to visually signal a passing float plane (on the chance one passes by.)
I was looking at pen type flare sets the other night. They are pretty compact and light, but it looks like I would be holding that little explosive part almost in my hand. (Obviously, I've never owned or used one.) The flare gun, of course, is big and bulky, comparatively speaking, but simple and reliable. Additionally, you have all of about 10 minutes in a cold water immersion to have full dexterity in your hands and fingers. It seems to me that the larger, flare gun type signal would be easier to manipulate with cold/wet hands. What are your thoughts on this? Is there anyone who owns/used a pen type flare gun who can give a first hand account?
Bear in mind, my boat is not a compulsory equipped boat (i.e. I am not required to carry any flares or signalling device); this is just an added peace of mind thing. I don't currently own either, and their price points are within about $10 of each other, so cost is not a factor. The flare gun or pen gun will go in the same pocket as my whistle, and the other pocket will carry my PLB. I already have a strobe light/becaon attached to the vest as well.