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Old 16 March 2009, 07:25   #11
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Originally Posted by Blackroady
I think Mr Cardy should be made to bob around in the sea, in the dark , in a flooding liferaft - when he can see the SAR chopper 3 miles away , but have no way of getting its attention - then see if he wants some flares.

While they are rarely used - when you do need them you really do NEED them .


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Originally Posted by malthouse View Post
I completely agree!

We often deal with people who have been rescued or who have carried out a rescue and I can genuinely say that flares of often an important part of the process.

There are alternatives:- lasers, strobes, LED beacons, etc. But when it comes to being spotted or signaling distress a flare does the job.
Flares have several purposes the most obvious is to indicate distress to other vessel’s, they can also be used for collision avoidance (white flare).

But I believe one of the most important uses, is once you have called out the rescue services and you have sighted them i.e. a helicopter is to then indicate your position with an orange smoke. This will identify you from other vessels and give the pilot an indication of wind direction ( he will need this if he is to send a winch man down) you of course, if possible should be making headway into wind yourself.

I cannot envisage the day when flare will be redundant although at the moment they can be a pain to dispose of.

I also agree with all the comments above.
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Old 16 March 2009, 07:39   #12
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Originally Posted by SeaSkills View Post

Mr Cardy surprised the audience by asking: ‘Can you envisage a time when there will no longer be value in yachtsmen carrying flares?’
He did take the audience by surprise and it was obvious that a number of people in the room could not envisage this happening.

My personal opinion is that these would have been the same people who could not envisage unmanned lighthouses, or the end of Decca, or the introduction of Decca, or vessels ceasing to emloy full time radio opeartaor to keep a listening watch on Channel 16, or in fact vesels actually keeping a listening watch on channel 16.

If the CEO of the MCA thinks that there are more modern, safer, more effective and more environmentally sound alternatives to the distress flare then I am all for it.

Just becasuese we have grown up with something does not stop it becoming obselete.
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Old 16 March 2009, 07:43   #13
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Originally Posted by SeaSkills View Post
‘Can you envisage a time when there will no longer be value in yachtsmen carrying flares?’
Yes. But I think the "trigger" will be when MCA/MOD refuse to take TEP, and the manufacturer becomes obliged to take them back when buying new ones. That will put up the price of Flares, whilst at the same time electronic location aids will be coming down.

If MCA want to reduce the number of flares in circulation then they probably need to:
  • Invest in R&D for suitable alternatives.
  • Reduce their promotion/emphasis on them.
I suspect that many of us carry them as we feel we have to because if anything happens and we don't have them the CG/RNLI will "criticise" us for not having them - rather than because of a definite need.
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Old 16 March 2009, 07:49   #14
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Originally Posted by Polwart View Post
If MCA want to reduce the number of flares in circulation then they probably need to:
  • Invest in R&D for suitable alternatives.
  • Reduce their promotion/emphasis on them.
I suspect that many of us carry them as we feel we have to because if anything happens and we don't have them the CG/RNLI will "criticise" us for not having them - rather than because of a definite need.
INdeed - how many MAIB reports state that there were no flares on board - like it was a crime ?

Maybe it was designed to provoke discussion ( it is on here! ) - but I feel just asking the question sends the wrong message. I'm all for modernisation -I hardly look at paper charts anymore for example - doesn't mean I dont carry them on the boat !
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Old 16 March 2009, 07:57   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polwart View Post
Yes. But I think the "trigger" will be when MCA/MOD refuse to take TEP, and the manufacturer becomes obliged to take them back when buying new ones. That will put up the price of Flares, whilst at the same time electronic location aids will be coming down.

If MCA want to reduce the number of flares in circulation then they probably need to:
  • Invest in R&D for suitable alternatives.
  • Reduce their promotion/emphasis on them.
I suspect that many of us carry them as we feel we have to because if anything happens and we don't have them the CG/RNLI will "criticise" us for not having them - rather than because of a definite need.
I have one of these + normal flares, no idea if it's any good

http://www.rescue-flares.co.uk/Rescue_laser_flare.html
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Old 16 March 2009, 08:37   #16
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But we are not allowed to use time expired flares for demo / training any more either cos of H&S
Then it sounds like you need to get someone more sensible to write the risk assessment!

Who made this ruling, and what were the particular hazards that they identified with out of date flares?
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Old 16 March 2009, 08:47   #17
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Originally Posted by John Kennett View Post
Then it sounds like you need to get someone more sensible to write the risk assessment!

Who made this ruling, and what were the particular hazards that they identified with out of date flares?
A good question John - I cant do my own thiing as letting of flares if its not an emergancy is illegal (please anyone correct me if I'm wrong - if I am great - I'll go home now & let couple of out of date ones off in the garden to smoke out the neigbours I dont like).

It seems the 'organisations' dont want to get involved in an organised 'test' ( even for out of date flares) due to liability / H&S issues, the problem being they can be held liable if they are deemed to be ' letting' you fire off out of date flares and you kill yourself or someone.

Its like food - just coz the date says they are suddently out of date they are deemed 'dangerous' etc . In reality its a load of crap - they dont know what the date is and suddenly stop working. The whole thing drives me nuts . I've never let one off & would love to know what to expect should I need to but 'safety' stops it happening ! ( I'm digressing from the original thread topic - sorry !)

An analogy
Its like having an Aux motor & not being ' allowed' to know how it works till you actualy need it .
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Old 16 March 2009, 09:26   #18
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Saw this quote the other day, "In this fast changing world the person who says it can't be done is soon overtaken by the person doing it"
It seems apt for this subject, eg. "A typical white pyrotechnic flare, a one-off device, lasts for less than a minute whereas the Rescue Laser Flares and Lights last for hours".
Also has anybody got one of those LED cycle torches, if I had said to my tutor when studying electronics that one day that there would be LED torches that would be as bright as a cars headlamp, the answer would have been, yeah ok.
Thinking it through would you want something that may burn your hand and posibly damage your tubes when using it or use something safer and potentially more effective. Logic says the latter.
I carry flares, but having read several posts on this subject don't have much confidence in them. So roll on the day when we have acceptable alternatives.
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Old 16 March 2009, 09:57   #19
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LED torches as bright as a car headlight? I have yet to see one. They may seem bright but would they light up such a large area? I think not.

Has anyone ever seen the effects of a white magnesium parachute flare? It lights up a massive area. Works even better if you have NVG on. Not only that but it stays up for ages due to the heat coming from it - a bit like a hot air balloon. There is no way any sort of LED could compete.

Lasers are incredibly bright - but they produce such a tiny pinprick they will only be seen if shone diectly into someones eye.

The big advantage of a flare is it should always work - no batteries to run out - no electronics or aerials to get damaged etc etc.

A red parachute flare can be seen for miles. Even silly members of the Public will recognise a flare and know what it means.

I also agree people should be allowed to set them off - in broad daqylight in a deserted quarry well inland it shouldn't be a problem and gives people essential practice. Obviously take precautions - like a big welders gauntlet and don't let it point at you.
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Old 16 March 2009, 10:07   #20
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Originally Posted by codprawn View Post
Lasers are incredibly bright - but they produce such a tiny pinprick they will only be seen if shone diectly into someones eye.
Helicopter pilots aren't particularly keen on this!

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I also agree people should be allowed to set them off - in broad daylight in a deserted quarry well inland it shouldn't be a problem and gives people essential practice. Obviously take precautions - like a big welders gauntlet and don't let it point at you.
If anyone wants an organised flare demonstration, get in touch with the RNLI, it's one of the functions of their Sea Safety division (for the Forth or the Oban area, get in touch with me). For all the above mentioned Health & Safety reasons - whether or not you agree with them - we cannot allow you to bring along TEPs to fire off. We will supply in date flares for the demo
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