Flares

Laundryman

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During my first year of sailing i have spent a small fortune buying the things i need ( or think i need ). I am now wondering whether i should buy a coastal flare pack. I have read conflicting articles re flares v epirbs. Considering that i am not planning anything too adventurous in the coming year, do i buy or not?
 

sailorman

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i get flares that are within date ( under 12 months ) when i get the raft serviced. cost - a few bob in the Tea Kitty.
i wouldnt bother if they are only ood by a few yrs
others may disagree
 

Norman_E

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EPIRBS and flares do different things. An EPIRB will alert the rescue services and tell them where you are. At night or in fog a flare will enable the rescuer to actually find you. For coastal sailing a DSC VHF and a handheld VHF in your grab bag will enable you to call for help in any circumstances, including a situation where you are in no immediate danger, but still need some help, or even just advice. My own feeling is that you should have flares, VHF and a GPS, and that among the more expensive safety purchases a life raft comes before an EPIRB. The latter only becomes a must have if you are going ocean sailing IMHO.
 

Boat44

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Agree with Norman_E.

You will find the RYA recommend what safety kit to carry in what areas. (Looked on tehre webiste but didn't see it straight away).

You shoudl definately have a flare pack. It is a visual means of attracting attention and letting rescue people know your location, ie marker.

As sailorman says, just look our for the dates on the flares, and how much "life" they have left.

Have fun and fingers crossed for some decent weather this year.
 

Judders

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[ QUOTE ]
cost - a few bob in the Tea Kitty.
i wouldnt bother if they are only ood by a few yrs
others may disagree

[/ QUOTE ]

Yes but how many yrs? Mine are now a year out so I am thinking of replacing them. Is that sooner than necessary?

Also, I inherritted the full offshore set, but am yet to leave the Solent, do I need to shell out £100 or should I get the coastal pack?
 

Fascadale

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Belt and Braces

DSC VHF
handheld VHF
mini EPIRB
3.5m candlepower torch

and flares

I think I would be very grumpy if I were "in extremis" and after all the high tech items had failed I didn't have a flare to let off.
 

nct1

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Interesting point, Norman.

Instead of flares would a powerful light and a fog horn do the same thing ?

Flares seem to be a very 19th centuary solution.
 

Sans Bateau

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Dont waste your money on a flare pack, a product that should have been confined to history books years ago!

Who the hell would be looking out for a flare these days? Add to that the danger of using the damnd thing. May as well have a burning tar barrel!

Invest instead in DSC + handheld, an EPIRB and a powerfull torch. Do though buy a seperate orange smoke for daytime and a couple of HH reds for night time.
 

maxi77

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As is a fig horn or a light. Rescues will be looking for red flares at night though a bright light may well do as well, during the day though red smoke is probably the best. At the end of the day, flares, smokes and rockets do not depend on any external power souces and are well tried and tested.
 

EdWingfield

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Flares explode in your hands. Flares are difficult to dispose of. Should you have a fire on board you hope to God the fire doesn't reach the flares.

Powerful torch is much less hazardous and a good substitute. (RNLI)
 

nct1

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Well I can see a light house sweep without it pointing at me directly.

I have flares, coz thats wot everyone said I should have when I bought them, but given their inherant dangers and lack of disposal facilities, maybe it's time to rethink.
 

ShipsWoofy

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[ QUOTE ]
Dont waste your money on a flare pack, a product that should have been confined to history books years ago!

Who the hell would be looking out for a flare these days? Add to that the danger of using the damnd thing. May as well have a burning tar barrel!

Invest instead in DSC + handheld, an EPIRB and a powerfull torch. Do though buy a seperate orange smoke for daytime and a couple of HH reds for night time.

[/ QUOTE ]Complete crock I am afraid.. A perfect example why this is crock is regularly played on our television sets.

On bbc's Seaside Rescue, how many times have you seen the helo wasting precious minutes circling around trying to find the boat with the sick passenger. A smoker can be seen for tens of miles from the air, same goes for a hand held red. People either do not carry the right kit, or they are saving the smokes for a real emergency, a helo hovering is apparently a daily event on Lake Solent no?

I have reported many instances of rockets when at sea, all proved to be false alarms (beach parties, fireworks etc) but I, and many others are actually looking out for flares and will act upon them.

Suggesting flares are an out of date shows a whole new level of ignorance to boat safety, electronics is not there to replace a tried and trusted method of calling.. If I was calling a lifeboat I would fire smokes as she approached in order to confirm to all parties where we are.

Do you steer on the chart plotter or use eyes? Do you give your position in lat lon or distance and bearing. Have you ever plotted the lat lon of a mayday call before disregarding as too away? What if you give the wrong position?
 

Judders

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If I was sailing along at night and I saw a light flashing at me, how long is it going to take for me to think 'hang on, there isn't a lit buoy there'. And then how much longer to go, 'oh bugger, that is someone in trouble'. Where as a red flare...
 

maxi77

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[ QUOTE ]
Flares explode in your hands. Flares are difficult to dispose of. Should you have a fire on board you hope to God the fire doesn't reach the flares.

Powerful torch is much less hazardous and a good substitute. (RNLI)

[/ QUOTE ]

Prpoerly maintained and used pyrotechnics rarely cause problems, and in care of a fire I would be more worried about my quite large diesel tank ot petrol supplies for the outboard.

Can you explain how the torch works by day?
 

Sans Bateau

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[ QUOTE ]
On bbc's Seaside Rescue, how many times have you seen the helo wasting precious minutes circling around trying to find the boat with the sick passenger. A smoker can be seen for tens of miles from the air, same goes for a hand held red. People either do not carry the right kit, or they are saving the smokes for a real emergency, a helo hovering is apparently a daily event on Lake Solent no?


[/ QUOTE ]

Why do you think I suggested:

"Do though buy a seperate orange smoke for daytime and a couple of HH reds for night time"

Eh?

[ QUOTE ]
What if you give the wrong position?

[/ QUOTE ]

That is the whole point of DSC.
 

robp

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Interesting reading the opposing views. I have everything; flares, mirrors, whistles, horns, powerful torches, handheld GPS's & VHF etc., but no epirb yet. I must admit that I'm always aware of the dangers that can be associated with flares and each time I see and check them there's a slight feeling of angst. I guess it's like paper charts. They are the longstop and need to be kept up. Main ship electrics can and do pack up.
As regards the disposal of out of date flares. I bought a new pack in Cherbourg last year and handed my old ones in at the capitainerie, who were happy to dispose of them.
 

graham

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Epirb is a great bit of kit but A flare or orange smoke may be seen by a vessel near you that would otherwise have no idea you are in distress.Not everyone has DSC or even listens to channel 16 so they could miss the Coastguard broadcast.
 
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