FLARES, Who needs them ? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 35 Old 04-23-2012 Thread Starter
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FLARES, Who needs them ?

I am a 44 foot UK flagged SSR registered private sailboat, currently wandering around the Caribbean. I have VHF + handheld, EPIRB, SSB, phone but I guess that does not matter if there is some LEGAL requirement to carry flares.

I do have flares but they are either out of date or will be shortly.

I believe that the French will fine you for carrying out of date flares, does anyone know if this is actively enforeced in the French islands in the Caribbean.

What is the position re flares? DO I have to have them onboard? If yes how many and what type?

Does it make a difference which island I visit?
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post #2 of 35 Old 04-23-2012
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Re: FLARES, Who needs them ?

Why would you want to carry expired flares anyway? Just replace them, they're cheap and necessary.
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post #3 of 35 Old 04-23-2012
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Re: FLARES, Who needs them ?

I keep my expired flares aboard for about 6years or so because one can never have too many flares. Consider the case of a guy whose vessel was disabled in the Atlantic several years ago, he fired numerous flares before somebody finally saw him. If I remember right, he fired them only if he saw lights or aircrft. Always have several sets of legal flares aboard plus the expired ones,
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post #4 of 35 Old 04-23-2012
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Re: FLARES, Who needs them ?

Moderately old flares could be okay as back-ups, and SOLAS para flares can run around $50 US, each... for the price of several of them, you can now get a PLB. But the flares do serve a different role and can get the attention of different possible rescuers than a beacon.
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post #5 of 35 Old 04-23-2012
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Re: FLARES, Who needs them ?

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Why would you want to carry expired flares anyway? Just replace them, they're cheap and necessary.
General recommendation is keep them. If you need to use a flare, use the expired first and then use the unexpired last. The expired will probably work and if not, keep going until one goes off. Can never fire too many flares.
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post #6 of 35 Old 04-23-2012
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Re: FLARES, Who needs them ?

I was boarded by CG from the Cutter Halibut once and my flares were out of date, there was some sort of grace period, can't remember what it was, but I was good.
If you've never fired off once of those 12 gauge flare guns on a dark empty ocean you'd not believe how disappointing they are. You'll wish you had a barrel of them or some better SOLAS flares.

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post #7 of 35 Old 04-23-2012
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Re: FLARES, Who needs them ?

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I was boarded by CG from the Cutter Halibut once and my flares were out of date, there was some sort of grace period, can't remember what it was, but I was good.
If you've never fired off once of those 12 gauge flare guns on a dark empty ocean you'd not believe how disappointing they are. You'll wish you had a barrel of them or some better SOLAS flares.
How high do the 12 ga go?
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Re: FLARES, Who needs them ?

Maybe 75 feet, I'd bet against it being more than 100'.

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Re: FLARES, Who needs them ?

At one time, I had a huge number of both expired and current flares that were up to 12 yrs old. Almost all of them were the Olin/Orion 12 guage variety but I also had 12 expired Olin/Orion hand held ones and 6 expired SOLAS Pains-Wessex hand flares and an expired Pains Wessex parachute flare (12 yrs old). I fired them all on a wet New Years night from my home (well inland).

Result: All of the old Skyblazer pen type flares fired and worked very well.
At least half the 12 G flares failed to do more'n go up 10' and fizzle. Those that did work, very few had any brightness at all, even the new ones seemed very poor. The 12 yr old Pains-Wessex rocket flare was very impressive going very high but its parachute failed.

ALL of the Olin/Orion hand helds failed to ignite. Finally, I lit the Pains-Wessex hand flares (Several yrs expired), very impressive. I used the Pains-Wessex flare to light the Olin/Orion hand flares which produced so little light as to be a joke.

My reccomendation, do not bother buying the Olin/Orion hand helds. Old Orion/Olin 12 G flares are very iffy. These were all the old style of Olin/Orion flares that looked like 12 G shotgun shells, not the new extended ones. I have not tested the new ones. However, I now carry two different types of aerial flares and only Pains-Wessex hand flares.
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post #10 of 35 Old 04-23-2012
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Re: FLARES, Who needs them ?

Solas all the way...the rest are just toys.

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