I wouldn't get a 12 gauge flare gun for going off shore... I would get a 25mm flare gun instead. Don't bother getting USCG-approved flares, as the SOLAS-approved flares are significantly better.
Hamilton Marine, up in Maine has some of the best prices on flare kits that I've seen. For instance, this ORC/USSA approved kit
is only $277.99 at HM, and is $339.99 at defender.
BTW, I don't think there is a single flare gun that could fire a 12 ga. shotgun shell without extreme danger to the user. Most are predominantly plastic...
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.