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Old 04-13-2014
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Re: Safety Equipment for Offshore Sailing

Maybe the SoS seminar was trying to demonstrate flare failures? (G)

Mark, I don't know of any electronics that can project a light source up into the sky. (Shine a light, yes, but actually put the source up there for all to see? No.) Lasers are kinda useless unless there's something for them to illuminate or reflect from. Good replacement for a signal mirror...but very different from a parachute flare or smoke bomb.

And then again, I've also seen a number of flashlights, including "extra durable" dive lights, that found clever ways to fail simply sitting on the shelf. Some batteries emit gas as they age, which tarnishes metal contacts in the light and prevents all power flow. Some plastics simply let go as they age, either cracking or popping off the contacts. So even without capacitors failing or cold solder joints...electronics have to be regularly tested. Of course you can't "test" a pyro without consuming it, so maybe there's nothing really lost there. But the pyros have so many fewer ways to fail. And the know, [I]every [/I]joker has a green laser to shine up at aircraft these days. At least when you see a SOLAS parachute flare, you can be pretty certain there's a reason someone just sent a hundred dollar bill up in flames.
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