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Old 16 December 2010, 18:18   #1
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Flares - Day and Night or Laser Flares?

Father dearest has requested a Day and Night flare for Christmas this year. Whilst I am quite happy to entertain the possibility of him being lost overboard and requiring the use of such a device, I thought I'd do a bit of research first (unusual!), and came across these:

http://rescue-flares.co.uk/

What are people's thoughts on either? Does anyone have any experience of the laser flares?
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Old 16 December 2010, 18:22   #2
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I think it was PBO who did a review on them and whilst the laser ones aren't recognised as flares they faired alot better than conventional pyros.
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Old 16 December 2010, 18:47   #3
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Jimbo, You might want to PM SPR he is the same SPR behind that site, but as he's not a trade member I know he doesn't want to promote his stuff publicly on here!

You might also want to look at "odeo flare" (http://www.odeoflare.co.uk/) which I think (having used neither in real life) is possibly a better product (sorry Scott) although I do think it is overpriced.
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Old 16 December 2010, 19:15   #4
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Interesting stuff. I was thinking seiously of not replacing most of my out of date pyrotechnic flares for next season after considering the debates by the RYA etc. I have two VHF's aboard and several LED torches.

After the announcement that there will be effectively no useful Coastguard coverage here in the west coast, let alone anywhere else, I'm reconsidering. Lots and lots of parachute flares are the answer, because I know from experience (Ops room, defunct Oban MRSC) that even in a sparsely occupied area, people see them and report. (Though to whom??)

The laser thingy might be bright, but you cannot see a light 30 miles away if it's only six feet above sea level. I think one will need more rockets.

Hopefully the weather broadcasts will continue, but I suspect things like TR's will be discouraged. Back to the 1970's - without the visual lookouts! Wouldn't be surprised if the three call centres they're wanting to reduce to were contacted out to Mumbai within ten years.

So, yeah. As many bright lights, rockets and smoke as you can afford.
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Old 16 December 2010, 19:43   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polwart View Post
Jimbo, You might want to PM SPR he is the same SPR behind that site, but as he's not a trade member I know he doesn't want to promote his stuff publicly on here!
.
Thanks Neil:

As you said thats one of my websites:

Jimbo it depends, what other safety kit you carry on your person, Laser Flares are good replacement for Pinpoint reds, to guide a rescuer to your position after alerting by other means, VHF or PLB.

It can be used to locate buoys or anything that has retro-reflective tape on it, ie. Life Jackets in a MOB.

Quick Specs:

Range at night 20+ miles....I think you find the other one mention is 3.5 miles.

Tested by UK Governmental Labs and been granted Laser Safety Certificate.

As all Class 3R or Class 3A lasers are not blink safe, the following was advised,

Eye Safe: 2.5 Metres
Binocular Safe: 18 metres 10 x 20
44 metres 10 x120

(not an issue for Greatland Laser Flares since they do not rotate.

Been in production for over 10 Years, used by USA Government, and have been informally tested by UK Coastguard, Police and RNLI.

They are Pilot safe.

The Official MCA trails i believe are on hold due to funding cuts!

As Neil (Polwart) and others know, I don't come on here to promote my business.

I will answer any questions, and if anybody buys anything from any of my websites ( i throw in a free carry case (£10) if they email me stating rib.net member)....

I don't like pyro's since during a Flare Demo, an orange Smoke exploded in my hand, lucky i was wearing Gloves, Jeans and good Jacket and was not injured. The RNLI stopped all Public Flare Demo's after this incident.

The other product you might look at is the rescue streamer, (yes i import these to) great alternative to orange smoke.


regards


Scott
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Old 16 December 2010, 19:53   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alystra View Post

The laser thingy might be bright, but you cannot see a light 30 miles away if it's only six feet above sea level. I think one will need more rockets.
If its in Air Yes it can !

Another interesting fact:
Quote from: Marine Offshore Rescue Advisory Group: Good practice in offshore rescue.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/otopdf/2001/oto01040.pdf

Image Intensifiers. The most appropriate form of image intensifier is that used in Night
Vision Goggles (NVG). These are already widely used in the armed forces and, if used by
those searching for survivors at sea, would, according to the HSE report, significantly
increase their chances of detecting and locating survivors at night. They could also provide
rescuers with greater freedom of action when actually rescuing survivors.

A limitation of NVG is that bright lights such as flares or searchlights can temporarily blind the equipment. However careful operation can reduce the risk of this happening and, if it does, the search can still be continued with the naked eye until the NVG regain efficiency.

It is expected that the use of NVG would significantly enhance the chances of detecting survivors at night, particularly if they are wearing strobe lights or reflective tape (with the search vessel using a searchlight screened from the NVG).
So carrying traditional flares or shining bright torches will affect your rescuers helicopter if they have night vision (NVG).

Rescue Laser Flares do not affect the ability of your rescuers finding you.

More Rockets? I thing at £20 a pop, a DSC Radio, VHF, PLB , EPwould be the answer.


An independent review: http://www.equipped.org/rescuelaser.htm

regards

Scott
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Old 17 December 2010, 03:40   #7
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I would think that if both parties are 6ft above sea level 30 miles would be a stretch with the curvature of the earth (los etc).
How far away is the horizon

Nothing to do with the visibity of the product, which would be visible from a helicopter a lot further away.
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Old 17 December 2010, 04:34   #8
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Useful chat guys, thanks.

It's worth me pointing out at this stage, before this thread diversifies too far, that the idea behind getting the old boy a flare was to complement the boat's existing safety gear (which on 99.9% of boats he uses includes a reasonable flare pack); and give him the opportunity to be seen as an individual, should he go overboard etc.

For that reason I'm not really looking at arming him with an EPIRB that would alert an MRCC, or a Parachute Flare which would alert someone miles away; rather a short range device that gets the boat he's legged it from, or one closer, to his position.

I guess the other point to consider is that a traditional (and cheaper) Day and Night flare includes a Red element and an Orange Smoke, whereas a Laser Flare would (correct me if I'm wrong?) only be appropriate for night time use?
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Old 17 December 2010, 05:08   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
I guess the other point to consider is that a traditional (and cheaper) Day and Night flare includes a Red element and an Orange Smoke, whereas a Laser Flare would (correct me if I'm wrong?) only be appropriate for night time use?
Depends if you fill it with water.....
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Old 17 December 2010, 05:44   #10
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Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post

I guess the other point to consider is that a traditional (and cheaper) Day and Night flare includes a Red element and an Orange Smoke, whereas a Laser Flare would (correct me if I'm wrong?) only be appropriate for night time use?
red laser is still visible in daylight although at shorter distance...a day night flare lasts around 30 seconds each end...

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Old 17 December 2010, 11:54   #11
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Scott,

Having spent a bit of time dealing with laser dazzle issues theres a few things you said don't necessarily make sense, at least at first reading!

Why won't your laser dazzle NVGs?
Why is a fixed laser more eye safe than a rotating one?

I've also tried aiming a laser over rather large distances and its quite difficult to maintain a positive "hit". I think with the "sweeping beam" approach you get a much higher hit rate - but can the rescue crew see the source of the beam when it is off target? i.e. is there a degree of skill which is required? Too fast a sweep and you give the pilot a flash but not enough time to locate the source?

I prefer the idea of the rotating beam as it will work even if I am unable to operate it due to hypothermia, and scans the entire range even if I don't know where the rescue effort is coming from. But in reality I've never tried any of these devices for real, and sod's law says the time I fall in will be the day I would forget / not bother to take the "flare" with me!
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Old 17 December 2010, 13:06   #12
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Scott,

Having spent a bit of time dealing with laser dazzle issues theres a few things you said don't necessarily make sense, at least at first reading!

Why won't your laser dazzle NVGs?
Why is a fixed laser more eye safe than a rotating one?

!
I am not expert in NVG, but the tests and feed back i had from the UK & USA testers, who have used these with High End NVG state that these don't have and adverse affect on the equipment. maybe the low 5mW out put and the divergence of beam at distance.

Rotating - how long are your arms Neil? The last time i met you they were not 2.5 metres!

For an all round , light with 3 mile range, I suggest looking at Adventure Lights LED VIP series, http://www.adventurelights.com/outdo...p?sid=5&cid=38 (Yes - I sell these too).

For 1 mile - the Adventure Guardian Lights ...

Aiming - the line produced by the flare is and ever expanding line:
2 miles - Line size 738 feet
4 miles - line size 1476 feet
20 miles - Line size 7379 feet
Make it easier hitting the target, instead of a laser pointer dot.

Neil - the free case i offering solves your problem, it can be placed on your life jacket/BA and you will never forget it!

If you want to see one up close, give me a shout and meet you near the bridges or down at Elie. Infact I have a case of different LED devices.

I see these days that a Flare is no longer a primary method of distress but you need something to guide rescuers in to you.

Laser Flare gives you distance capability and is a valued addition to the safety kit, but like everything its building up a solution that works for your needs.

I am only a reseller/importer of these flares...I sell these because i believe in these - like wise any products that I sell is because I believe they are worth buying.

If I wanted to make money selling pyro's are the way to go...the markup on these are very very high, and repeat sales every 4 years, using 19th century technology....

regards

Scott

A PDF of a PowerPoint Presentation can be downloaded from [here]
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Old 17 December 2010, 13:15   #13
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Jimbo. You have opened an interesting post. I have never thought to carry these but there appears to be some good reason for carrying them as a personal safety option in the pocket of on a lifejacket.

Does anyone know if they figure on equipment levels for coding as I can only see flare options so these will be additional costs again, any thoughts?
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Old 17 December 2010, 14:33   #14
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Last year a debate on laser flares came up on a kayaking forum I use and became very heated indeed, some of the die hard pyro guys argued that joe public would not recognise a beam of light as a distress signal and also would be a hazard to aircraft etc . The guy promoting his product was from up Scotland selling them under the name of Evergreen but the lasers he was selling did not fan out like the Greatland lasers which I think would be much better .Personally I think owning one of these would would be handy as a secondary back up at this moment and time but I would still carry flares until lasers or any other emergencey product became a better and proven option to replace pyro flares .
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Old 17 December 2010, 14:56   #15
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I am not expert in NVG, but the tests and feed back i had from the UK & USA testers, who have used these with High End NVG state that these don't have and adverse affect on the equipment. maybe the low 5mW out put and the divergence of beam at distance.
I'd be surprised if NVG had no response to ~630 nm light, but its over 10 years since I was involved in that area. It may mean that they don't actually damage the NVG rather than dazzle the wearer? Although

Quote:
Rotating- how long are your arms Neil? The last time i met you they were not 2.5 metres!
long enough to hold above my eye line - or to look away as you might do with a h/held pyro. I appreciate that's not something you can do for hours on end - but neither is "scanning" a laser "line" across the horizon.

Quote:
Aiming - the line produced by the flare is and ever expanding line:
yes but its a line so it might be 7000 ft long but only a few dozen feet wide? Have you played around with one (probably best not near an airport!) - do you get enough retro reflection / scatter to know if you are hitting the target?

Quote:
Neil - the free case i offering solves your problem, it can be placed on your life jacket/BA and you will never forget it!
except I have different PFDs for differnt occasions!

Quote:
If you want to see one up close, give me a shout and meet you near the bridges or down at Elie. Infact I have a case of different LED devices.
thanks I'm not actively in the market for one of these, although I think that the general concept is good. However if any of the other manufacturers want to match Scott's offer then I'd be happy to try and set up some sort of reasonably structured test and report back here (or if a mag were interested in the printed press).
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Old 17 December 2010, 15:37   #16
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Last year a debate on laser flares came up on a kayaking forum I use and became very heated indeed, some of the die hard pyro guys argued that joe public would not recognise a beam of light as a distress signal and also would be a hazard to aircraft etc . The guy promoting his product was from up Scotland selling them under the name of Evergreen but the lasers he was selling did not fan out like the Greatland lasers which I think would be much better .Personally I think owning one of these would would be handy as a secondary back up at this moment and time but I would still carry flares until lasers or any other emergencey product became a better and proven option to replace pyro flares .
north Wales sea kayaking forum by any chance? if it was they reviewed high powered laser "pointers" 60mW and greater or I remember 120mW. These are very un-eye safe and a swipe with one of those will cause temp blindness.

Only legal wattage of laser pointer is 1mW in UK.



greatland is 5mW and is designed for signalling.

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Old 17 December 2010, 15:44   #17
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north Wales sea kayaking forum by any chance? if it was they reviewed high powered laser "pointers" 60mW and greater or I remember 120mW. These are very un-eye safe and a swipe with one of those will cause temp blindness.

Only legal wattage of laser pointer is 1mW in UK.



greatland is 5mW and is designed for signalling.

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Old 17 December 2010, 18:09   #18
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You will not see, the flare on the target, the laser is NOT that powerfull hence it is safe, but using the method outline in the instructions and the length of beam and moving slowly accross your fingers will be enough to cause the precived flash.

It will give you a flash back on retro-relective material at the aprrox. 1 mile.

regardng the NVG , all i know is that it has no adverse effect -
http://www.equipped.org/rescuelaser.htm has review using NVG.

Day/Night Flare

I have also attached three pictures of day/Night with orange being activated, one you dont see diver, one you can see him clearly only for 30 secs though! Although you will smell smoke for few minutes afterwards!

The 3rd photograph is the orginal photo of the diver in background.

Day/Night is good bit Kit, expensive at £40/£50 a pop, only last 30 seconds each side, but if you can pick them up trade good addition to your kit. RNLI crew carry two each on there lifejackets.

A Nylon Mobile phone case is good for carrying them on your lifejacket.

S.
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Old 18 December 2010, 14:07   #19
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Guys, thanks for all your input to this thread.

I think in an ideal world I'd like to see one of these laser flares in action before splashing that amount of cash on an unknown; it sounds like a brilliant concept and I've got to weigh up whether I'm willing to take the initiative and get him one.

Of course, flare or laser, I'd hope he never had to use it...!
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Old 18 December 2010, 17:15   #20
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Does anyone know if they figure on equipment levels for coding as I can only see flare options so these will be additional costs again, any thoughts?
They are not in the code as they are not an internationally recognised signal.

I'm not saying they are not effective but it would be a bit odd for the law to dictate commercial vessels carry something that is not legally recognised or designed to an accepted standard.

Get them inserted into the annex 4 of the IRPCS and a standard will appear and they will appear in the code pretty quickly.
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