Horrific flare accident

Norman_E

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Take care with flares. I don't know the full details but a well known man who ran his own business here in Marmaris, working on yachts, has been killed in a horrific accident. Details are a bit sketchy and I first heard that he shot himself in the head with a flare gun on board a boat here, though someone else told me it was a parachute rocket.. Either way the poor man is dead.

I for one am in a quandary as I have a British registered boat big enough to be legally required to carry flares, though I really don't want the dangerous things on board.. I would rather not have them and as all my sailing is coastal I think that other means of raising alarm are sufficient. I have VHF and a PLB and I will add a laser flare.
 

Aardee

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Tragic, but I'm not sure it would make me dump my flares...lots of people die in boating accidents, but we keep sailing on regardless.

I'd at least wait until it becomes clear what happened.
 

KellysEye

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>I first heard that he shot himself in the head with a flare gun on board a boat here, though someone else told me it was a parachute rocket.. Either way the poor man is dead.

If that's true and if someone decides to kill themselves with a flare that is no reason not to carry flares, they are the most obviuos thing rescuers can see.

>I really don't want the dangerous things on board

If flares were dangerous they wouldn't be sold, the only precaution is wear gloves when you fire one, we have seen in Lagos, Portugal an out of date rocket flare explode in someone's had, he wasn't hurt in any way.
 

Ukeluthier

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If flares were dangerous they wouldn't be sold, the only precaution is wear gloves when you fire one, we have seen in Lagos, Portugal an out of date rocket flare explode in someone's had, he wasn't hurt in any way.

That is perhaps the most outrageous post I've seen on this forum to date. Perhaps you would be willing to aim a 25mm Very pistol at your forehead and pull the trigger to back up your claim? ... I didn't think so.

Anything that contains enough explosive power (or rocket propellant) to propel a projectile several hundred feet into the air is without question dangerous if mishandled.

I suspect the rocket flare that exploded in Lagos was not directed at the person's person, and most of the explosive force was luckily expended in the opposite direction.
 
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l'escargot

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That is perhaps the most outrageous post I've seen on this forum to date. Perhaps you would be willing to aim a 25mm Very pistol at your forehead and pull the trigger to back up your claim? ... I didn't think so.

Anything that contains enough explosive power (or rocket propellant) to propel a projectile several hundred feet into the air is without question dangerous if mishandled.

I suspect the rocket flare that exploded in Lagos was not directed at the person's person, and most of the explosive force was luckily expended in the opposite direction.

Very few people carry Very pistols these days, the licensing procedures for this country are too onerous. "Disposable" single use flares are pretty universal and far safer.
 

johnalison

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There is obviously a range of meanings for the word "dangerous", which is confusing people. As I see it, many things, such as cars, are potentially dangerous but most of us have learned to operate them sensibly. My flares present no risk to my boat or to me until I get to the point of using them, unlike my gas installation which is potentially dangerous all the time and a cause of far more concern than my flares. Our local coast guard used to visit clubs and demonstrate flares and some people got the chance to fire them. If sailors take the trouble to find out how to fire flares and keep their stock up to date, flares should be of vastly greater benefit to him than risk.
 

Vara

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Over 40 years I have used hundreds of flares and smokes albeit in a non marine environment, as a result of witnessing a few serious incidents one involving a fatality I will not have them on my boat.

All of the incidents were caused by human failure not a fault of the pyros.
 

pvb

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Having carried flares on boats for 40+ years, I decided last year not to put any on my new boat. Advances in communications of all types have changed the need for flares.
 

Capt. Clueless

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Only last week, I was rifling through all the stuff the previous owner left in our boat, and I found a plastic container with distress flares in. As It is unlikely that I shall need them as I am taking the boat to Ullswater for lake sailing, what is the best & safest way to dispose of them please?
 

Topcat47

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Flare accidents are fortunately rare but not unknown. Flares are basically explosives. I know of no-one who would hold a roman candle or a firework mortar in his/her hand but we are expected to trust to a cardboard tube to protect us when fireing a parachute flare. Similarly, Hand-held flares are simple fireworks but you'd not consider holding one in your hand on November 5th. I keep a coastal pack on board simply because I'd rather lose a hand than get drowned, but I don't consider them "Safe" by a long way, the risk is relative.
 

Daydream believer

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Very few people carry Very pistols these days, the licensing procedures for this country are too onerous. "Disposable" single use flares are pretty universal and far safer.

Personally i believe the very pistol to be the safer item. Not the hand held flares
i had a pistol for 43 years and only handed it in when i could no longer buy the shells for it ( which ,incidently, do not have a use by date)
It was easy to load & operation was obvious. No need to sit trying to read firing instructions in the dark before firing
White flares were better as i could fire one then get on with steering the boat to avoid being run down rather than hold a hand held white flare whilst its light blinded me & bits burned my hands

I would still have one if I could have got the shells
 
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Zagato

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I wonder how effective flares would be in an emergency, especially hand held one,s. A few people have commented they were next to useless in there own emergency situations!
 

salar

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Only last week, I was rifling through all the stuff the previous owner left in our boat, and I found a plastic container with distress flares in. As It is unlikely that I shall need them as I am taking the boat to Ullswater for lake sailing, what is the best & safest way to dispose of them please?

Contact your local Coastguard for advice on disposal locations relevant for your area. Don't do what some people advise and let them off on fireworks nights, if they misfunction they can be fatal.
 

Elessar

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Over 40 years I have used hundreds of flares and smokes albeit in a non marine environment, as a result of witnessing a few serious incidents one involving a fatality I will not have them on my boat.

All of the incidents were caused by human failure not a fault of the pyros.

I too have witnessed a flare fatality.
I wouldn't carry rocket flares save for the fact I'm bound to on a coded boat. Too many safer long distance alternatives.
I would however carry smokes and hand helds. "yes I'm the white boat" would be far better as "I'm the boat with the orange smoke"
 

Woodlouse

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I wonder how effective flares would be in an emergency, especially hand held one,s. A few people have commented they were next to useless in there own emergency situations!

Around the coast I would say they are very effective. Almost everyone who lives within sight of the sea knows what a red flare means. I've seen the navy fire a white flare off Portland at three in the morning only to have it immediately reported to the coastguard who then followed it up.

I for one will not stop carrying flares on my boat whilst it is legal to do so, but I respect that they require the utmost care when letting them off. They're not toys, they are a means of signalling distress when your life depends on it.
 

Channel Sailor

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I have a very pistol with white and red flares cartridges, about 30 of them. Having used both rocket and hand held flares I would agree they are certainly dangerous things to use. The very pistol, particularly for a white I am here signal, is very easy to use. pas mine is 25mm I think will still be able to get cartridges in the future.

On a small boat at sea the idea of me being single handed and having to hold up a burning white hand held flare for a few minutes is impractical. I would have no control of the yacht while doing it and I would blinded for a few minutes until my eyes recovered.

i still think the parachute reds, handheld red and floating smoke pot reds are worth having on board. For example swamped, no electrics, in dinghy/life raft, no mast or in distress in the the middle of the Solent packed with white hulled similar yachts. Not everyone who is close enough to help first would have your emergency beacon coordinates to hand.
 

philwebb

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Re orange smoke. I once fired off an orange smoke to attract the attention of another boat passing close by. (We needed a tow) They ignored it.
 

Seven Spades

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Very few people carry Very pistols these days, the licensing procedures for this country are too onerous. "Disposable" single use flares are pretty universal and far safer.

I have to disagree A Very pistol is much safer than a standard flare. Standard flares have been known to explode whereas shells in a pistol will only go in one direction. The problem with the Very pistol is its classification as a firearm which is nuts, there should be an exemption as long is it is on a boat or in transport thereto. As it is a very pistol is not as good as a parachute flare because its burn time and altitude is not as long nor as high.
 
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