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Old 26 December 2017, 07:28   #1
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which flares

for me its time of year to decide what emergency equipment i should be re-newing/ updating.
it got me thinking of which flares i should carry now.
costs are going through the roof but of course safety has to be the priority so whats the balance without going ott ?
sugestions welcome guys.
james.
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Old 26 December 2017, 07:52   #2
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Go electronic plus PLB.
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Old 26 December 2017, 08:01   #3
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Go electronic plus PLB.
+1 Odeo flare and PLB also DSC radio I will never buy another flare to risky IMO in a small boat.
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Old 26 December 2017, 08:22   #4
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+1 Odeo flare and PLB also DSC radio I will never buy another flare to risky IMO in a small boat.
+ 2 electric, never goes out of date..
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Old 26 December 2017, 09:09   #5
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I just disposed of some flares that weren't mine I would never have them in a boat after seeing how they go off I would go for an electronic version if possible
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Old 26 December 2017, 10:21   #6
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which flares

sorry guys i meant electronic
i too wont use the old "explosive" type.
james.
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Old 26 December 2017, 11:26   #7
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sorry guys i meant electronic
i too wont use the old "explosive" type.
james.
you can replace the batteries on the Odeo yourself so that's a plus twist to turn on great for cold hands mine tucks up inside my life jacket so deploys just were it's needed
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Old 27 December 2017, 08:42   #8
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Just looked at the Odeo Electronic Flare on Ebay, what a good price less that £100, and far far safer.


The YouTube video, was a little enhanced, by dark conditions and whispy smoke, in reality are they a true replacement ??


asking because its that year that mine need changing, I have never needed to use them.
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Old 27 December 2017, 08:53   #9
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I have junked my fire breathing SIB melting flares this year in favour of a new radio and Odeo electronic flare. Obviously the Odeo is little use in daylight unlike a smoke but the massive advantage at night is that the Odeo will go on all night and all the next night... and all the next week if you have a couple spare sets of AAs.
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Old 27 December 2017, 10:02   #10
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Whilst you eliminate the fire hazard, they may be of limited use in daylight & MCA MIN 542 published March 2017 goes into more detail.

"3.2 Where carriage of flares is not mandatory, the MCA nevertheless advises that EVDS should not currently be carried as a substitute for conventional pyrotechnic flares. This is because of the risk that EVDS may not be recognised internationally as a distress signal. However, for pleasure vessels, seagoing commercial vessels, and most non–seagoing commercial vessels, EVDS may be carried in addition to the required distress signalling equipment and used to identify location or transmit the S-O-S distress signal through a switch mechanism (just as a torch or other light-emitting device could be used). However, the limitations of EVDS devices should be recognised and anyone using them should be made aware of the type and quality of signal being generated."

Also includes the advice that they do not consider ANY currently available Electronic Visual Distress Signal to be a substitute for pyrotechnic signals on vessels legally required to carry such equipment.

https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...61/MIN_542.pdf

ETA.
Review here, mentions light intensity issues:
"During battery life testing, we noticed the flare’s light intensity decreased by about 90 percent after roughly 5 minutes of continuous use. We shut the unit down and re-tested it with the same results. The unit also had reduced output after our heat-exposure test; it resumed full operation after cooling down. The distributor explained that when it gets too warm, the ODEO shifts into a reduced output mode until it cools down. No temperature ranges were provided, but the maker recommends turning the flare off for 10 seconds after every five minutes of use in warm climates. During tests, we had to shut the unit down for 2 to 3 minutes before it cooled enough to resume normal operation."
https://www.practical-sailor.com/iss...e_11213-1.html
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Old 27 December 2017, 17:13   #11
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I'm required to carry a lot of pyros by law, so I don't really have any skin in this fight. That said, I have an opinion

A lot of the "no-pyro" guys seems to be moving to Laser Flares. This seems more than reasonable "IF" you boat later in the day or after dark. During daylight hours, I don't see the point in a laser. I'd have thought DSC VHF and PLB type devices would be sufficient to summon assistance. However, and here's the rub, often nowdays the assistance is a helo and they really do like a smoke flare to separate the men from the casualties and prepare an approach. I had the immense pleasure of being accidental PAX on a helo shout to a sinking boat. The biggest issue was trying to identify it among tens of similar nearby craft and a smoke flare would have been legend.

I'd suggest keeping a Buoyant Smoke Canister in your box - just in case. Remember, it works in the water and thus is ideal for RIBs and SIBs...
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Old 27 December 2017, 18:34   #12
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I have junked my fire breathing SIB melting flares this year in favour of a new radio and Odeo electronic flare. Obviously the Odeo is little use in daylight unlike a smoke but the massive advantage at night is that the Odeo will go on all night and all the next night... and all the next week if you have a couple spare sets of AAs.
Thatís my conundrum I donít out at night if I was out at night then I would have needed a flare, so with led/laser being far less effftive at night they are actually worse for the target market of leisure/seasonal/fair weather boater.....

I have. Dsc vhf but the battery doesnít always last a whole day stupid strobe that goes off every time it gets wet means itís on all the time.... so do I leave it off, only turning on when I need it? Or risk it running down when I donít and being flat when I do.... pyro signals are designed to be fun or safe they are for emergency use when a badly burned hand is preferable to drowning....

So £60-£100 on pyros that are a nightmare to dispose of (hundreds of miles driving) or same on a laser that isnít as effective when Iím likely to need it....

Storage is an issue too....
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Old 28 December 2017, 05:02   #13
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I have. Dsc vhf but the battery doesnít always last a whole day stupid strobe that goes off every time it gets wet means itís on all the time.... so do I leave it off, only turning on when I need it? Or risk it running down when I donít and being flat when I do....
Store it somewhere drier?
If you can live with it being off and possibly it going for a swim you can presumably live with it being on and going for a swim without the strobe - is there a config setting to disable auto strobe?
Are you sure its the strobe that kills the power and not the GPS?

Quote:
pyro signals are designed to be fun or safe they are for emergency use when a badly burned hand is preferable to drowning....
The thought of firing a flare and having to hope someone spots it, knows what it is, calls someone who knows what to do about it and gives a half decent search area for me doesn't exactly fill me with excitement.

Quote:
So £60-£100 on pyros that are a nightmare to dispose of (hundreds of miles driving) or same on a laser that isnít as effective when Iím likely to need it....

Storage is an issue too....
£60 - seems to buy you two hand held smoke, two hand held red and two rocket reds.

Assuming you aren't 200m off a beach with a load of people on it... ...you pop off a red rocket. Then another 3 minutes later. Then what?

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I had the immense pleasure of being accidental PAX on a helo
How do you manage these things? Was this simillar to how you end up testing every Redbay ever made... you know just in case you might buy one... ...did you tell them you were buy a chopper?

Quote:
The biggest issue was trying to identify it among tens of similar nearby craft and a smoke flare would have been legend.
I thought the device SPR of this parish used to flog claimed to be able to offer a degree of daylight directional signalling - up to 2 or 3 miles - which is probably as good as a cloud of orange smoke? Doesn't give wind direction and I think far less likely to be understood by 'public' as a distress signal.

Surprised no-one has modified the tech in an e-cig to make a "digital smoke flare" (#PatentPending ;-) )
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Old 28 December 2017, 06:09   #14
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Happy to accept the limitations Paintman mentions for electronic flares re minimal daylight use and their need to cool for a brief period every now and again to maintain full light output. They will still overall have a massive increase in "burn time" over a pyro flare where if you fire off the two you carry with no response than you're stuffed anyway.

Re the daylight issue then there are several other ways of attracting attention such as the radio, a hand canister horn SOS, a drogue anchor or coat tied to a boathook and waved etc.

While pyro handheld flares are not a legal requirement for the private boater I will never again carry them on a SIB due to the significant risk of damaging a tube and making the problem a lot worse.

I think everyone has to judge their own risk and how they manage it related to the area and times they operate, the weather conditions they launch in, their own experience/ability and that of any crew and so on.

I don't value the night ability of an electronic flare because I go out at night but could forsee a developing situation at the end of the day where in trying to resolve an issue the light level had fallen enough to make that light useful.

Must admit I'd not thought of a floating canister smoke that Willk mentions. They are a bit "lumpy" to store but minimise risk to the SIB.

Of course much of my concern is the fact that most of our SIBs are PVC... I guess Hypalon is less of a risk??
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Old 28 December 2017, 06:48   #15
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Must admit I'd not thought of a floating canister smoke that Willk mentions. They are a bit "lumy" to store but minimise risk to the SIB.

Of course much of my concern is the fact that most of our SIBs are PVC... I guess Hypalon is less of a risk??
Her-her-her, still a trick left in the old dog yet!

On that note, "hand-held" needn't mean in yer hand. Lights and Smokes can be cable tired to a paddle, selfie-stick, fishing rod, etc and deployed downwind and at a safe remove from the boat.

Again, I think we focus overly on the "alerting" function of Pyros and their electronic equivalents. I think of them more as "final mile" attention getters. PLBs and DSC radios "should" get the message out, but boats drift and light fails. Once you see the lights of the lifeboat or hear the helo then it's good to have a "see-me" reaction available. I've listened to a lifeboat ask a boat lost at night to deploy a flare so they could pin-point them but to my eternal amusement, the only thing the vessel had to hand was, and I quote: "some romantic lanterns". Much coffee was spilled....

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Old 28 December 2017, 08:02   #16
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^^^^ Perhaps I need to add a pack of tea lights to my safety kit.....

If there is nothing in sight then deploying any distress signal that relies on somebody being able to see it is pointless.
The one exception may be a parachute flare due to the altitude it achieves.

When I started messing about in small boats there were no mobile phones & radios were large & expensive. Waving oars etc aside, pyro flares were the only practical option.

Things have moved on considerably & technology means that good quality radios, epirbs etc are readily available & cheap.

I do still carry pyro flares but they are more of a last resort if all else fails or as willk says a positive visual identifier.

ETA. Usually best to drop the anchor/deploy a drogue if the engine won't work. At least that way tide & current aren't going to take you miles away or onto something nasty.
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Old 28 December 2017, 12:18   #17
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Interesting thread.

It sounds as if the development of LED flares has really come on and have several advantages over "traditional" pyrotechnic flares:
lower risk to person
Less "scary" for untrained / inexperienced people to use - freeing up skipper to monitor radio etc....
lower risk to damaging the boat
will last longer - and can be re-used / recharged
Don't have the tedous life-expiry and disposal faff

But
Not nearly as visual as smoke in the day or allow tracking along the line of smoke.

i'm wondering whether the best option is not an "either or", but an LED flare to replace red para-illum and hand helds, and a couple of floating orange smoke canisters for day-time "last mile" stuff. As one who is pretty much a day time ribber making sure if I have a problem, my low profile boat can been seen or postion marked from a distance in daylight is key to me, so I'll alaysretain orange smoke in some form. The floating canisters seem the best option.

Will seriously consider as I need to replace my flare pack at end of 2018.
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Old 28 December 2017, 17:47   #18
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He low profile, limited vhf range is the reason flares are better can potentially be seen from further than the vhf can reach etc, EPIRB are another option and perhaps more suited to daytime use.

My current solution is keep vhf in a dry bag until needed.....
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Old 29 December 2017, 07:24   #19
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He low profile, limited vhf range is the reason flares are better can potentially be seen from further than the vhf can reach etc,
Not sure if that lost something in autocorrect, unless you boat in busy areas, close to cliffs/headlands I donít think youíll find many cases where flares are a better first means of distress alerting than a VHF. Potentially be seen is not the same as will be seen and acted on.
Quote:
EPIRB are another option and perhaps more suited to daytime use.
plbs/Epirbs work but arenít instant, and of course work in daylight, nighttime, fog, in busy areas, and quiet areas, etc
Quote:


My current solution is keep vhf in a dry bag until needed.....

Bear in mind that the two worst case scenarios in a sib are probably you going MOB or the boat capsizing. In both circumstances having your distress signal on you not in the boat would be preferable. I think the same about sea kayakers who carefully pack their vhf in the hull. That is another argument against pyros...
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Old 29 December 2017, 09:48   #20
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Limited vhf as in often in a dead spot bay and upto 12 miles off the coast in a low craft with a handheld in my experience (not had to put out a May Day thankfully) Range was no better then line of sight and was under 3 miles flares are visible further (rocket) but needs someone looking out for them.... up to 7 miles is coastal but often am 10-12 from land... a perhaps unique area of operation?

Agree vhf better on you than stowed, that’s how I found out it ran out of battery as once splashed the bloody strobe started and didn’t stop till the battery did... not found a way to turn the auto operation off....
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