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Thread: Flares

  1. #1
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Question Flares

    Need some info on flares. I am not real knowledgable on them and would like to learn more about the types commonly used for:
    1. boating emergency
    2. hiking/hunting emergency
    3. vehical/roadside emergency

    Approximate prices and place to buy them would behelpful as well.

    Thanks, Buck

  2. #2
    Member Wombat's Avatar
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    Default Flares

    I know Walmart carries flares up here. I'm not too sure about the quality or price diffrences though. Here is a site with some good options http://www.orionsignals.com/Marine/Products/aerial.html

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    Default Flare info

    As far as recreational boats are concerned, the federal requirement doesn't specify whether Visual Distress Signals (VDS) must be pyrotechnic (flares, etc.) or non-pyrotechnic. All distress signals have distinct advantages and disadvantages. No single device is ideal under all conditions or suitable for all purposes. Pyrotechnics are universally recognized as excellent distress signals; however, there is potential for injury and property damage if not properly handled. Non-pyrotechnic VDS are getting more popular with some new developments on the market. All vessels used on coastal waters, the Great Lakes, territorial seas, and those waters connected directly to them, up to a point where a body of water is less than two miles wide, must be equipped with U.S.C.G. approved VDS. Vessels owned in the United States operating on the high seas must be equipped with U.S.C.G. approved visual distress signals. Depending on where you boat and what type of boat you have, there may be other regulations (including state/local) that apply. Your local Coast Guard Auxiliary is a good resource to learn more about the safety equipment that you must have aboard. Several manufacturers make pyrotechnics that are CG approved including Orion, Pains-Wessex and others. The approval and expiration dates are critical and determine whether the flares are legal for use or not. If you have specific questions regarding flares, please post! Thanks! CG Boating Safety

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    Member DanC's Avatar
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    Default Laser flares?

    Mike (CG Boating Safety),

    Could you comment on suitability of laser flares http://www.greatlandlaser.com/ for marine use? Does the coast guard recognize them as a viable alternative to the pyrotechnics?

    They are expensive, but so are the pyrotechnic flares when you consider that they have to be replaced every couple of years. Over the years I have bought enough pyrotechnics to pay for more than one laser flare. I am going to add one (laser) to the survival pack in my airplane but have not made any decisions regarding the signaling equipment to be added to my new boat.

    Buck, I don't mean to hijack your thread.

    Dan

  5. #5
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Smile No offense taken...

    We here of flares all of the time, but I rarely see any specifics (reports) concerning them. I just had a look at the laser site you posted, didn't even know it existed, so please, no reason for apologies, this is the exact type of discussion I was trying to generate!

    What do you other guys carry/use?

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    Default Laser flares

    Dan:
    I've used a Greatland laser flare in my classes for several years now and I believe it would be a great addition to any safety kit. I have not used one in field conditions, so I can't comment on their overall effectiveness, but I think they should perform quite well. It's a quality product, but has not yet gone through the CG approval process, so it would not be counted towards meeting any of the federal VDS requirements. I did speak with Kim O'Meara at Greatland and they do intend to pursue CG approval to meet VDS requirements. Mike

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    Member DanC's Avatar
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    Default Flares

    Thanks Mike. I am going to add one laser to the boat kit.

    Buck, I have kept a current three-pack of Skyblazer flares in my kit for many years. These flares are the least expensive on the market and they are available just about anywhere, including Walmart. They also reach the highest altitude. They will burn out before falling back to earth - important if you are signaling on land and there is danger of starting a fire!

    Another good option is the Orion 12 gauge shell for use with a Very pistol or shotgun. I like to use the Very pistol because I can also make it shoot cracker shells for bear deterrent in areas where carrying a firearm is illegal (the signal pistol is considered part of the boating safety equipment).

    Don't forget that a signal mirror is a good attention getter too.

    And always, self-reliance is just as important as being able to call for help.

    Dan

  8. #8
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Thanks Mike, Dan

    good info. Dan, I have looked over some of the websites posted here and did some compare/contrast and the burnout rate is something I was concerned with.

    I've heard of people using a flare to start a fire if no other means available...what type of flairs are they referring to? ...just trying to get a handle on all of this!

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    Member akjw7's Avatar
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    Default

    most likely a road flare - not an aerial (ok duck!!! )

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    Default Flares

    BucknRut:
    There's three basic variations of marine pyrotechnics...aerial flares, handheld flares and smoke. Aerial flares are launched by two basic means, the pistol/cartridge type that loads the flare like a conventional gun and uses a firing pin to detonate a primer & propellant. The burning flare then "arcs" up providing a bright light for rescuers to see. The other type of aerial flare uses a 'rocket-type' tube that is held in one hand and triggered by the other. The 'rocket' reaches a high altitude and burns brightly, similar to the pistol-launched type. They can be also outfitted with a small parachute that keeps the flare at altitude longer for visibility over a longer period. Handheld flares also burn brightly but are normally held by hand and typically used when a rescuer is in sight. Both aerial and handheld flares are considered day/night visual distress signals. As I mentioned before, look for USCG approval and expiration dates if your intended use is on boats. Smoke is just that; smoke. These are day signals only and put out huge clouds of orange smoke for rescuers, they come in canister or handheld styles. Any pyrotechnic can cause damage and must be used in accordance with manuafacturer's directions. If people utilize flares for starting fires, they would typically choose the handheld flares. Here's a site link that goes into more detail:
    http://www.orionsignals.com/Marine/index.html CG Boating Safety

  11. #11
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Default Thanks CG Safety

    You've been a huge help, I think I can manage from here. My assumption is that the airlines put regulations and/or restrictions on these, as they are flamable and explosive... Am I correct??

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    Default

    I know a few people who carry the so called "mini-flares" while hiking ect. Personally, having used these in the military, I have always been pretty under whelmed by their performance...in some places they barely clear the tree cover..If you intend carry them, try a couple first so you know what to expect as they are in no way a replacement for "proper" marine flares..

    Once bit of kit I can high recommend is a good strobe light. In a survival situation, these can be placed in a promenant postion and left doing there stuff while you hunker down out of the elements near by. get one that runs on a D cell rather than the usual "C" cell if you can as it will function considerably longer.

    One strobe and say 3 spare D cells probably represents 10 nights worth of signalling, which in my books is pretty da*nm good.

    With regards smoke canisters, these are always handy to have, especially if you anticipate working with 'copters. Just remember to pop the smoke down wind of your position as you don't want it obsuring things...

    Regards,

    Pete

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    Member AKBighorn's Avatar
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    Question

    **The approval and expiration dates are critical and determine whether the flares are legal for use or not.**

    In the boating safety class I am taking they suggested to keep your old outdated flares. Reasoning was more flares=more chances to catch someones attention. I assume the legality issue you mentioned is in respect to if they will count towards your required gear or not. Is that correct?

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    Default Best ever

    check this site out this is a product that I have used and work great. basicly a laser flare.https://www.greatlandlaser.com/index.php
    Ted Kennedy’s car has killed more people than my gun!

  15. #15

    Default

    I have and carry all types of flares, each having their intended use. I also carry a laser flare during the winter on my sled. They are very visible in any reasonable weather. My buddy and I have tried these on numerous occasion up to about two miles apart, they are still very bright. I hope these become uscg approved.

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    Member akfun's Avatar
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    i have read through the post, one thing that i noticed is that nobody suggested a PLB. reason i say it is the best way in my opinion to get someone looking for you first. i bought the aquafix last year with onboard gps. my reasoning is it is insurance, if something happens someone will start looking for me before i show up late, and they will know close to where i am, when they are looking then flares and other visual devices will come into play. its cheap rescue insurance. for instance, your out hunting for a 1 week trip, on day two you are attacked by a moose and you have broken your arm or leg, you have 5 days before you are overdue. if you have a PLB you can set it off and you should be rescued within 24 hours. say a helicopter is looking, a flare will get them to your area faster, but unlike the above situation the searchers have a general area about the size of any plans you left and were reported to the search and rescue... if it was reported correctly. and you have had a broken bone for 5 days. just my thoughts and why i spent the money to ensure that if the need arises that the people with me and myself will be rescued when in need. makes me feel safer knowing that they will have a reasonable location for me with in 100'. when hiking i always carry flares and my PLB. just in case something does not go as planned. just a thought for you guys to consider. i picked my PLB at west marine a couple of years ago when it was still expensive i think they are around $650 now. something to keep in mind. jeff

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