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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 07-01-2009
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SOLAS flares are really the only flares you should be carrying if you're hoping to be rescued. The SOLAS flares, both handheld and aerial, are orders of magnitude better than the USCG ones, in terms of visibility, duration and safety. For instance, USCG handheld flares can drop hot slag...which isn't such a good idea on a fiberglass boat, but SOLAS flares will not.
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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Any sailor who has never fired off their Olins can never understand why SOLAS flares are so hugely overpriced. Fire a SOLAS flare, and you'll feel like a real moron for having carried the Olins for all these years.
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  #12  
Old 07-01-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailortjk1 View Post
I have a question.
Why dispose of an out of date Flare?
I always keep fresh ones on board that are with in date, (we just volunteered for an aux inspection and we were 100% compliant) but when the old ones expire, I keep them on board. Just in case. I mean, do you think there not going to fire? Are they any more dangerous to have around?
My thinking is the more the better. I keep them on board.
Please if I am doing something wrong or illegal let me know.
If they are in good shape and show no sign of deterioration, why dispose of them other than the fact that they date syas Oct 2008?
Keep up to date Flares on board and the expired ones I keep as back up.
Is this not sound thinking?
I have done a bit more research after my initial question here. Yup.. I'm smart enough to know that I should call the local FD or PD, however they don't take these here in my area. I did find out that the local West Marine had a disposal and demo day last week and they do this periodically.

As for why I'd like to get rid of the mountains of propellant stored on my boat by the many owners over the years... Well I could actually float it out there and light it up like a Greek Funeral Pyer. In my original question I explained that I had some that were leaking propellant already and needed disposed of. Of course I'll keep any that I feel are adequate for spares, but the bad ones are bad and I have no need to keep them on my boat or in my garage at home.

Additionally this is becoming a major problem in some jurisdictions as every recreational boater is required to have some kind of signaling devices and after a period of time either need to be replaced or destroyed. Unfortunately many wind up in the bay or other waters, others end up in the landfill or buried in the backyard. None of these are the greatest way to get rid of the chemicals in these flares. I'm still waiting back for a phone call from a local PD to see if they can take them... or I'll just wait until West Marine does another Flare Demo day.

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  #13  
Old 07-02-2009
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agreement

Just beware of fire bans in your area.
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Old 07-02-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
SOLAS flares are really the only flares you should be carrying if you're hoping to be rescued. The SOLAS flares, both handheld and aerial, are orders of magnitude better than the USCG ones, in terms of visibility, duration and safety. For instance, USCG handheld flares can drop hot slag...which isn't such a good idea on a fiberglass boat, but SOLAS flares will not.
On Lake Ontario, the vast majority of the recreational sailors carry Olin or Orion flares, or so I have seen. So do I. It makes sense that quantity trumps quality, particularly as there is generally the traffic and the SAR resources to be seen fairly rapidly. Also, nav station VHF in the middle of the lake can generally raise both US and Canadian CGs.

However, at sea we will bite the bullet (pun intended) and go with all SOLAS. I recall a "flare-off" some years back when we alerted the local water cops that we were disposing of about eight packs of 1980s-vintage shells (which still got about an 80% "success" rate) and two Paine-Wessex parachute flares.

The P-Ws, both of which were 20-plus years old, both fired successfully and were several orders of magnitude brighter and of longer duration than anything from Olin's stock kits. About the only brighter thing I've seen is the larger calibre of Very pistol shell, but they only last five seconds or so.
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  #15  
Old 07-02-2009
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Olins and Orions are such that a single SOLAS parachute might succeed better than several of them...
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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
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #16  
Old 07-02-2009
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With four decades of cruising we've accumulated and disposed of many flares. Most recently, I took an old collection of various flare to a local fire department that accepted them without question. I have also given my older flares to other boaters who wanted them as a "backup" supply. I have also done what I've been told doesn't happen,- call the Coast Guard on my VHF and state my location with the request that I be allowed to test fire some older flares. Either there are different implementations of USCG policies in different parts of the country or there have been recent changes in a uniform policy, but I have been granted USCG permission to fire these old flares on more than one ocassion. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 07-04-2009
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On this day (July 3) several years ago, I contacted our local USCG station and inquired about the possibilty of undertaking crew training in the use of flares on the evening of July 4. They saw no problem with that and requested that I call their duty officer prior to launching any of the flares to tell them the number, type and location of flares I would be using.

After our town's July 4 fireworks display, I took several of my regular crew members way out on the tidal flats, called the local USCG station and requested permission to do some live fire training.

Permission was granted and we launched several red flares and tried out several red and white hand-held flares. It was good practice and I thought a good use of expired flares.

I should note that we didn't fire off any of the SOLAS parachute flares as I was concerned that they might drift back over the town.

Last edited by billyruffn; 07-04-2009 at 12:27 AM.
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