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Old 23 September 2002, 06:17   #1
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Those all important flares

I'm sure there has been a thread about this before but i can't find it, so here goes

What flares do you all carry and how many of them?

I have been looking at buying one of these coastal packs with 4 flares (2 rockets and 2 smokes) but 4 doesn't seem that much. At the moment I just have a mini flare pack so I guess that and a coastal pack would be ok?

Would it be worth buying another rocket and smoke to add to the coastal pack? Oh, and what about the offshore pack with two parachute flares?

Daniel
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Old 23 September 2002, 06:59   #2
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DJL

The law here says that we shall carry at least 3 flares and 1 smoke generator. I always carry twice as that. (6 flares + 2 smoke gen).
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Old 23 September 2002, 07:35   #3
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My answer is to have as many as you can, as can be seen by Charles' problem you never know when and how many you may need.

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Old 23 September 2002, 09:32   #4
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Smoke it up!!

I am of the opinion that 4 hand-held flares and two parachute flares (3000ft) should suffice. It should also be understood that I only used the flares once I was sure someone would see the smoke once fired. It is a pointless exercise just firing them willy-nilly and when you do need them you have none left. They do really work well, mine burnt for almost two minutes with the entire area covered in orange smoke.
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Old 23 September 2002, 11:10   #5
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I carry the same 6 as charles sugests plus 2 white collision flares - i had a lot of trouble getting them recently (old ones out of date), no body can do mail order now apparently because of new rules - went to a chandlery in the end who charged a premium and were an hours drive away.

Remember - there are things to think about...

Don't fire flares with a helicopter nearby
Think about wind direction
I think it is illegal to fire any flare other than a white collision avoidance unless in a mayday situation. If it isn't it should be. You can fire white flares to avoid collisions - that's wot they are for.

Daniel (the second)
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Old 23 September 2002, 12:02   #6
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Disposal of old, out of date flares.

What does one do?
Obviously DO NOT set them off-ANYWHERE.
But what? Take them back to.......any chandlery? Where?
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Old 23 September 2002, 12:06   #7
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Strangely i asked the lifeboat - they said keep them as extras! So i did, but, at the moment they are 6 months out of date - what happens in a few years i have no idea!

The guy also said they will still work for a while, but just not burn so brightly or be slightly discoloured or not reach quite as high.

Sounds reasonable - but i have reservations about the things going off in my face???
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Old 23 September 2002, 12:38   #8
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Ahah! Good old google...

(search on "disposal of flares")

"The question of what to do with those out of date Flares is one which faces all boat owners from time to time....So Here Is The Answer! ...Bring them to any Coastguard Station and we will arrange for their safe and proper disposal. Please ring beforehand if you are traveling any distance to ensure the Auxiliary Coastguard Station will be open. Beer Coastguard's Telephone number is 01297 21814 Click Here to see a map of where we are located."

Well, that's OK if you live near Beer!

Lots of other links too. Enjoy
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Old 23 September 2002, 12:44   #9
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Flares and smokes

The coastguard I talked to said keep them as spares, but ....
The rocket ones use a spring to launch the rocket body out of the tube - this becomes week over time thus rocket starts in tube - so you might not want to be holding it
From previous practices(remember to get permision from the coastguard) pin points and smokes work for a while (remember to be up wind or you are Tango man!), mini flares either work, make loud band and no colours or don't.
But what do you do with a flare you have fired but has failed to work - ie a mis fire ? deep 6 it? I wouldn't want it anymore.
Any ideas?
Jelly
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Old 23 September 2002, 12:59   #10
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What flares to carry?????

Carry extra white colision flares, as most ships dont bother to keep a look out outside the English channel, In my Experance(offshore sailing) they dont even listen to the VHF.So when they dont see the first white flare, fire them at the bridge, that usually wakes them up!!!! I have had to do this 4 times, once near Belfast and the other 3 times in the Caribbean. Its defiantly saved the boat on two occasions......and possiably lives.

I know poeple are going to say , thats crazy and dangerious and all that but, when you have had the experance of very nearly run down, you decide that they are better equipped for fires that you are for swimming.... not that it ever started one. Its just a big splash of white , a bit like a roman candle, followed by a dozen heads looking out windows.
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Old 23 September 2002, 13:05   #11
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Quote:
when they dont see the first white flare, fire them at the bridge, that usually wakes them up!!!!
Yessssssss, now THAT I like.

Keith (caveat emptor) Hart
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Old 23 September 2002, 14:23   #12
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Thanks for all your replies..

The 4 hand-held flares and two parachute flares sounds good, especially with the 5 mini flares.

Not sure about the collision flares. Do you really think they are necessary on a 4.7m RIB?

Shame about mail order, I live in about the worst place to buy anything nautical!

Daniel
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Old 23 September 2002, 14:28   #13
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Daniel,

My justification for the white flares is that one day i might break down in the middle of a shipping channel - then they woudl be really useful! Yes i know i have a VHF, an aux engine, i should not be that close in the first place etc. etc. BUT they were only a tenner each.

Mind you, maybe you'r aux is bigger than mine or you can paddle very quickly!

Regards,

Daniel
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Old 23 September 2002, 14:38   #14
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I guess for another £20 its probably worth it, as long as they all fit in the same bottle.

I've got a birthday coming up soon, might start dropping some hints. Not the most exciting present but never mind.

Thanks again for all your replies

Daniel
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Old 23 September 2002, 14:41   #15
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I would suggest that you don't bother with a coastal kit, but go for the offshore kit which is recommended for voyages more than 7 miles from shore (which isn't far in a RIB!).

This contains:

4 x Red Handflares
4 x Red Parachute Rockets
2 x Floating smokes

It's not a bad idea to have a mini flare pack per person in drysuit pockets too.

White flares are a waste of time IMHO, as the only time you'd need them is if you happen to break down right in the path of a ship and couldn't get out of the way. This is pretty unlikely (less so for sailing boats), and the chances of a flare being seen in these circumstances is pretty unlikely too!

In any case, if you were to really find yourself in that situation it would be just as well to let loose everything in your armoury, whatever colour. At least someone would come looking for you after you've been run down . . .

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Old 23 September 2002, 14:43   #16
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Birthday... how i got my flares 6 months ago!

Just looked @ your web site Daniel - quite scary really, not content with stealing my name you steel my interest (boating) then my hobby (electronics) and then want to go to uni and study for my degree (finished BEng (Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering) last year - currently writing a masters report!)

Wow!

Cheers again!

Dan
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Old 23 September 2002, 15:04   #17
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The answer

surely you wait for bonfire night to dispose of old flares ???

love the previous advice in this thread.......

" dont fire flares at helicopters trying to help you "

how hacked off would they be, as they approach to rescue you, what do you do, you bl**dy well shoot them down !!!!

Not good, good point to remember though.......LOL
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Old 23 September 2002, 15:24   #18
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Blimey, that is scary... Congrats on the BEng.. Long time before i get there.

Why didn't I get the flares at the boatshow!! Offshore pack is a rather large £137! Know anywhere cheaper?

Do you think the second helicopter sent to rescue the first would pick you up?

Cheers
Daniel
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Old 23 September 2002, 16:04   #19
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Hi Folks

We use keep our flares for a couple of extra years, always have in date ones but the old ones we still keep.
They may or maynot work but we find when we use then (see later) most do work.

What flares you carry depends on what else you carry we think.
A VHF or EPIRB is worth a lot of flares, but what we carry is (or used to and will carry when new RIB arrives ) is

1 VHF with DSC
1 406Mhz EPIRB
2 Para Flares
4 hand held red
4 hand held white
2 hand held smoke

Plus a few slightly out of date ones

While we carry white I agree with John but see them as a means if giving your position, red or white if close buy and searching I think a helecopter or lifeboat would still come to have a look.

I am not sure about floating smokes in a RIB, even in the water they get very hot and you may have problems if they drift into the tubes!.

As far as disposing of the hand held flares, we wait till bonfire night then give than to the wife, and even the older kid to set off.
It was supprising first time we did this how long it took for them to sus them out and i would rather do this in the garden on bonfire night than and disabled RIB with a ferry approching at 20Kts !!.

I would never recomend setting para flares of thouh even on bonfire night.

Regards Gary

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Old 23 September 2002, 17:07   #20
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Just been looking at the Marine Safety Agency web site and thought this quite relevant. Half way down someone convicted for setting off a flare. A bit further down is that gin palace that hit the break water at Portland, how I have no idea, not exactly a small piece of concrete.

http://www.mcagency.org.uk/news/prosecutions/index.htm
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