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Thread: 4th of July weekend

  1. #1
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    Default 4th of July weekend

    Every year, the Coast Guard responds to false alarms at great cost to the taxpayers and sometimes, those costs are passed along to those mariners as fines. Do not risk a fine by firing off your expired flares on the fourth of July...or any other day unless you are in distress. I know this is a common practice in Alaska as elsewhere, but it's simply not worth the risk of having someone in the vicinity see your distress signal and report it to the Coast Guard simply for the enjoyment of the holiday. Visual distress signals are for distress; not entertainment, so please resist the impulse to fire those flares unless you are in distress. Just last week, a camper in Resurrection Bay was training his children how the flare gun worked and fired flares...which were spotted by a nearby hiker who reported it to the Coast Guard and a CG helicopter soon flew over his camp and dropped a rescue swimmer. I'm certain that particular person has a new appreciation for distress signals. Enjoy the holiday, keep the flares stowed, the alcohol levels safe and the PFD's on! Boat safe! Hope to see you on the water! Mike

  2. #2
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    Good words, thanks for your efforts.

  3. #3
    Member Crumm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CG Boating Safety View Post
    Expired flares
    I have read that "VDSs must be dated and may not be carried past their expiration date". I use to carry the expired ones as I figured if three are good then nine are better but then I read about the "may not be carried past their expiration date".
    Why can't we carry the expired ones for extras?

    Why do they expire so soon?

    Buying new ones every year for our annual trip to Valdez gets expensive. Is there a visual distress signal that does not expire?

    If we can't carry the expired ones and can't shoot them off for fun how do we properly dispose of them? I am sure the garbage man doesn't want them going off in his truck.

  4. #4
    Member AK NIMROD's Avatar
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    there are alternatives to flares . special light and orange distress flag.
    typically flares expire ????30 or 32 months from being manufactured. (I think this is correct if not it is a year longer????) so just be careful when you purchase them.
    there was a thread here 4-6 months ago that had links and alot of info on the subject
    RETIRED U.S.A.F. CAPT.; LIFETIME MEMBER NRA; LIFETIME MEMBER ALASKA BOWHUNTER ASSOC.
    MASTER BOWHUNTER EDUCATION INSTRUCTOR; MEMBER UNITED BLOOD TRACKERS; POPE & YOUNG MEASURER

  5. #5
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crumm View Post
    I have read that "VDSs must be dated and may not be carried past their expiration date". I use to carry the expired ones as I figured if three are good then nine are better but then I read about the "may not be carried past their expiration date".
    Why can't we carry the expired ones for extras?

    Why do they expire so soon?

    Buying new ones every year for our annual trip to Valdez gets expensive. Is there a visual distress signal that does not expire?

    If we can't carry the expired ones and can't shoot them off for fun how do we properly dispose of them? I am sure the garbage man doesn't want them going off in his truck.
    You can carry expired flares, but you must have current one with you. Use the expired ones as a back up. Early this season i asked on this fourm what to do with expired flares and got some great answers.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  6. #6
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    Default CG press release

    I just got this regarding the Resurrection Bay flare false alarm:

    Office of Public Affairs
    U.S. Coast Guard Seventeenth District

    [IMG]outbind://9-0000000064CAA51EDDF3674181FA134D5D559B1B44272800/clients/uscg-13/46810.gif[/IMG]Press Release
    Date: July 3, 2008

    Contact: Petty Officer Sara Francis
    Phone: (907) 271.2660



    COAST GUARD INVESTIGATES FLARE LAUNCHING IN RESSURECTION BAY


    The Coast Guard responded to a report of three red flares near Fox Island on Sunday. Five hours and $50,000 later the source was identified as a man training his children to use flares.
    "Responding to false alarms puts our crews at risk unnecessarily and prevents us from responding to actual emergencies," said Cmdr. Steve Pearson, response chief Sector Anchorage.
    Watchstanders from Coast Guard Sector Anchorage, Communication Station Kodiak, the crew of an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, the Seward Police Department and a Good Samaritan spent over five hours trying to locate the source of distress - a family tent camping on the beach at Fox Island.
    Training your children to use flares is permissible and a good idea, however, individuals conducting training should alert the Coast Guard and other emergency responders in the area before firing flares. This step can prevent costly and unnecessary search efforts.
    False distress calls cost the Coast Guard and Alaskan taxpayers more than $2 million annually. A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and crew have an operating cost of $10,719 per hour. This false distress case exhausted 20.4 Coast Guard member hours; and 4.5 resource hours. All tallied this case cost the Coast Guard and the Alaskan taxpayers $50,020.50.
    Flare launchings account for a small percentage of all false distress calls each year. One of the given reasons for launching flares is because "they are expired." The Coast Guard recommends keeping expired flares separate from non-expired flares if they remain with you or on your boat. If you no longer want them you can turn expired flares over to any Coast Guard or Coast Guard Auxiliary unit.
    Flares are an emergency tool to communicate distress. Flares should not be used in place of fireworks. They look distinctly different from a firework. With Fourth of July celebrations on the horizon the Coast Guard would like to remind individuals not to fire off celebratory flares.
    Mariners and the public are reminded that under Federal Law, an individual who knowingly and willfully communicates a false distress message to the Coast Guard or causes the Coast Guard to attempt to save lives and property when no help is needed is -- (1) guilty of a class D felony; (2) subject to a maximum of six years in prison; (3) subject to a fine of $250,000 and a civil penalty of not more than $5,000; and (4) liable for all costs the Coast Guard incurs as a result of the individual's actions.
    "Boaters can receive a free courtesy vessel exam from the Coast Guard Auxiliary to ensure they are better prepared for an emergency," said Pearson. To contact an examiner in your area visit http://a170.uscgaux.info/d17_vsc_page.htm.
    For more information on the false distress case or to arrange an interview with a Coast Guard member concerning the false distress, contact Petty Officer Sara Francis at the U.S. Coast Guard Public Affairs Office @ (907) 271.2660.
    ###


    View this document online
    USCG District 17
    17th Coast Guard District Public Information Site

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