Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 01-01-2009, 11:23   #1
SRB
Registered User
 
SRB's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Dorset, United Kingdom
Boat: 'Caprella' Elizabethan 23
Posts: 12
Images: 2
Flares

Happy New Year everyone!!
Just replacing my flares on board and have a question for debate.
Are White flares actually needed on board?? I only do coastal sailing and always in daylight usually within 7 nautical miles of land but am aware of the possibility of having to anchor or continue a passage into the night to make port. I carry a Red Parachute, two handheld red flares, two handheld orange smokes, and a floating orange smoke cannister. If i sense a collison is that close I prefer to use a foghorn cannister or use the VHF. I carry a searchlight and have forward mast mouted decklight. Just read somewhere that white flares should also be kept seperate from red and orange flares, or does that just apply to white parachute flares. I can't see any practical benefit of white flares. Has anyone had to use a white flare or are there demonstration videos that show the actuall visual effect of a white flare. Would have thought that against a bright sky and sparkly sea or even a dull grey day a deep blue or black smoke flare would be more visible. I look forward to your comments, ideas and experiences. Many thanks, Simon.
__________________

__________________
SRB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2009, 11:27   #2
Marine Service Provider
 
AnchorageGuy's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Wherever the boat is!
Boat: Marine Trader 34DC
Posts: 4,618
White flares are generally used for rescue or any other purpose other than to announce an emergency. So if you don't believe you will encounter any situation that would require white flares you are not required to carry them. The choice is up to you.
__________________

__________________
Chesapeake Bay, ICW Hampton Roads To Key West, The Gulf Coast, The Bahamas

The Trawler Beach House
Voyages Of Sea Trek
AnchorageGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2009, 12:01   #3
Moderator Emeritus
 
GordMay's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario - 48-29N x 89-20W
Boat: (Cruiser Living On Dirt)
Posts: 31,585
Images: 240
As Chuck notes, White Flares are not SOLAS or USCG approved*, and are not distress flares. A hand held one can be used to indicate your presence to a ship if there is a risk of collision.

White parachute flares have been used for illumination at night in the case of a man over board. Launching a series of white parachute flares can keep an area illuminated whilst you search for a casualty, although you may find that they destroy your night vision.

It may be worth carrying white flares for these rare occasions, but they should be stored apart from those used for indicating distress.

See the Pains Wessex SAFETY RECALL of it's White Flares:
http://www.tnyc.nfld.net/flare%20recall.pdf

* U.S. Coast Guard approved aerial flares have less demanding operational performance specifications than SOLAS flares. These flares typically have a burn time of approximately 6 seconds and an altitude of 300 feet. This pales in comparison to SOLAS flares that burn for about 40 seconds and an altitude greater that 900 ft. Unlike SOLAS flares which have built in firing mechanisms, there is a wide array of ways to fire USCG flares, ranging from built-in (Skyblazer) to a pistol type launcher.
__________________
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"



GordMay is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2009, 14:02   #4
Registered User
 
Catamount's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Keene, NH
Boat: Island Yachts Peterson 34 GREYHAWK
Posts: 370
The ISAF Offshore Special Regulations (for racing) used to require that white flares be carried (for some categories of races) for collision avoidance signalling, but since there has proven to be a significant safety issue with the white flares themselves (see the recall mentioned by Gord), the OSR's no longer require white flares but a "powerful" white flashlight or spotlight instead.
__________________
Tim Allen
My Boat Projects and Sailing Stories
Sailors for the Sea, a new voice for ocean conservation
Catamount is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2009, 15:27   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Colombo
Posts: 1,059
Exactly as Catamount says.

White flares are mainly powdered magnesium and their being hand held I have always been averse to having them on board keeping only the minimum number (many, many years ago a fellow student and myself blew a 4 foot dia crater in wet beach sand one night with a 1/2 paper cup full of powdered magnesium filched from the lab - gave us one hell of a fright, very loud boom and very big flash). Since the accident a couple of years back with a white flare in the UK and the subsequent move away from them by the ISAF Offshore Special Regs I have never carried them.

I believe (but am not certain) red flares are the same and I limit our carriage of those to 2 and never keep old ones - if needed I would hold them well away from me and the handle end not aimed at my body in case it blew back.

We carry a boat's 12v supply powered spotlight, good torches and a masthead strobe (which we would only use in dire circumstances, so has never been used in anger to date).
__________________
MidLandOne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2009, 15:43   #6
Marine Service Provider
 
AnchorageGuy's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Wherever the boat is!
Boat: Marine Trader 34DC
Posts: 4,618
Quote:
Originally Posted by MidLandOne View Post
Exactly as Catamount says.

White flares are mainly powdered magnesium and their being hand held I have always been averse to having them on board keeping only the minimum number (many, many years ago a fellow student and myself blew a 4 foot dia crater in wet beach sand one night with a 1/2 paper cup full of powdered magnesium filched from the lab - gave us one hell of a fright, very loud boom and very big flash). Since the accident a couple of years back with a white flare in the UK and the subsequent move away from them by the ISAF Offshore Special Regs I have never carried them.

I believe (but am not certain) red flares are the same and I limit our carriage of those to 2 and never keep old ones - if needed I would hold them well away from me and the handle end not aimed at my body in case it blew back.

We carry a boat's 12v supply powered spotlight, good torches and a masthead strobe (which we would only use in dire circumstances, so has never been used in anger to date).
In the US we are required to carry flares so no choice. In my almost 50 years on the water I have never heard of a flare exploding or causing any type of mishap and there are probably hundreds of thousands on US boats.
__________________
Chesapeake Bay, ICW Hampton Roads To Key West, The Gulf Coast, The Bahamas

The Trawler Beach House
Voyages Of Sea Trek
AnchorageGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2009, 15:53   #7
Senior Cruiser
 
44'cruisingcat's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 7,456
Images: 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
As Chuck notes, White Flares are not SOLAS or USCG approved*, and are not distress flares. A hand held one can be used to indicate your presence to a ship if there is a risk of collision.
I read of a case where someone did use a white flare for this purpose, when they felt they were in danger of being run down at night. An unwelcome side effect was that the flare temporarily rendered them completetly blind.

It was Fortunate the ship missed them, (whether that was due to it's crew seeing the flare isn't known) because they had completely lost any ability to take evasive action after lighting the flare.
__________________
44'cruisingcat is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2009, 16:06   #8
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Seattle
Boat: Cal 40
Posts: 2,401
Images: 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Baier View Post
In the US we are required to carry flares so no choice. In my almost 50 years on the water I have never heard of a flare exploding or causing any type of mishap and there are probably hundreds of thousands on US boats.
You're not actually required to carry pyrotechnic devices, they're usually considered the most effective though.

From:

http://www.uscgboating.org/safety/fedreqs/equ_vds.htm

Non-Pyrotechnic Devices
Non-Pyrotechnic Visual Distress Signals must be in serviceable condition, readily accessible, and certified by the manufacturer as complying with U.S.C.G. requirements. They include:
Orange distress flag
  • <LI class=textlistshort>Day signal only. <LI class=textlistshort>Must be at least 3 x 3 feet with a black square and ball on an orange background. <LI class=textlistshort>Must be marked with an indication that it meets Coast Guard requirements in 46 CFR 160.072. <LI class=textlistshort>Most distinctive when attached and waved on a paddle, boathook, or flown from a mast.
  • May also be incorporated as part of devices designed to attract attention in an emergency, such as balloons, kites, or floating streamers.
Electric distress light
  • <LI class=textlistshort>Accepted for night use only <LI class=textlistshort>Automatically flashes the international SOS distress signal: (... ...)
  • Must be marked with an indication that it meets Coast Guard requirements in 46 CFR 161.013.

John
__________________
cal40john is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2009, 16:18   #9
Marine Service Provider
 
AnchorageGuy's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Wherever the boat is!
Boat: Marine Trader 34DC
Posts: 4,618
Not sure why you only chose to paste part of the regulations. You are required to carry flares.


These vessels are not required to carry day signals but must carry night signals when operating from sunset to sunrise:
  • Recreational boats less than 16 feet in length
  • Boats participating in organized events such as races, regattas, or marine parades.
  • Open sailboats less than 26 feet in length not equipped with propulsion machinery.
  • Manually propelled boats.
Pyrotechnic Devices
Pyrotechnic Visual Distress Signals must be Coast Guard Approved, in serviceable condition, and readily accessible.
  • They are marked with an expiration date. Expired signals may be carried as extra equipment, but can not be counted toward meeting the visual distress signal requirement, since they may be unreliable.
  • Launchers manufactured before January 1, 1981, intended for use with approved signals, are not required to be Coast Guard Approved.
  • If pyrotechnic devices are selected a minimum of three are required. That is, three signals for day use and three signals for night. Some pyrotechnic signals meet both day and night use requirements.
  • Pyrotechnic devices should be stored in a cool, dry location, if possible.
  • A watertight container painted red or orange and prominently marked "DISTRESS SIGNALS" or "FLARES" is recommended.
U.S.C.G. Approved Pyrotechnic Visual Distress Signals and associated devices include:
  • Pyrotechnic red flares, hand-held or aerial.
  • Pyrotechnic orange smoke, hand-held or floating.
  • Launchers for aerial red meteors or parachute flares.
[EACH OF THESE DEVICES HAS A DIFFERENT OPERATING (BURNING) TIME. CHECK THE LABEL TO SEE HOW LONG EACH PYROTECHNIC DEVICE WILL ACTUALLY BE ILLUMINATED. THIS WILL ALLOW YOU TO SELECT A WARNING DEVICE BETTER SUITED TO THE CONDITIONS WHERE YOUR BOAT WILL OPERATE?]
__________________
Chesapeake Bay, ICW Hampton Roads To Key West, The Gulf Coast, The Bahamas

The Trawler Beach House
Voyages Of Sea Trek
AnchorageGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2009, 16:35   #10
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Seattle
Boat: Cal 40
Posts: 2,401
Images: 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Baier View Post
Not sure why you only chose to paste part of the regulations. You are required to carry flares.


These vessels are not required to carry day signals but must carry night signals when operating from sunset to sunrise:
  • Recreational boats less than 16 feet in length
  • Boats participating in organized events such as races, regattas, or marine parades.
  • Open sailboats less than 26 feet in length not equipped with propulsion machinery.
  • Manually propelled boats.
Pyrotechnic Devices
Pyrotechnic Visual Distress Signals must be Coast Guard Approved, in serviceable condition, and readily accessible.
  • They are marked with an expiration date. Expired signals may be carried as extra equipment, but can not be counted toward meeting the visual distress signal requirement, since they may be unreliable.
  • Launchers manufactured before January 1, 1981, intended for use with approved signals, are not required to be Coast Guard Approved.
  • If pyrotechnic devices are selected a minimum of three are required. That is, three signals for day use and three signals for night. Some pyrotechnic signals meet both day and night use requirements.
  • Pyrotechnic devices should be stored in a cool, dry location, if possible.
  • A watertight container painted red or orange and prominently marked "DISTRESS SIGNALS" or "FLARES" is recommended.
U.S.C.G. Approved Pyrotechnic Visual Distress Signals and associated devices include:
  • Pyrotechnic red flares, hand-held or aerial.
  • Pyrotechnic orange smoke, hand-held or floating.
  • Launchers for aerial red meteors or parachute flares.
[EACH OF THESE DEVICES HAS A DIFFERENT OPERATING (BURNING) TIME. CHECK THE LABEL TO SEE HOW LONG EACH PYROTECHNIC DEVICE WILL ACTUALLY BE ILLUMINATED. THIS WILL ALLOW YOU TO SELECT A WARNING DEVICE BETTER SUITED TO THE CONDITIONS WHERE YOUR BOAT WILL OPERATE?]

So the way you are reading it, you must also carry the flag and the automatic morse code light. This is not correct. You missed the first paragraph. It says nothing about pyrotechnic devices, it says you must carry USCG approved devices. It then lists the the approved devices and whether they are day or night or both. Here it is below.

John


Visual Distress Signals
All vessels used on coastal waters, the Great Lakes, territorial seas, and those waters connected directly to them, up to a point where a body of water is less than two miles wide, must be equipped with U.S.C.G. Approved visual distress signals. Vessels owned in the United States operating on the high seas must be equiped with U.S.C.G. Approved visual distress signals.
__________________
cal40john is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2009, 16:37   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Colombo
Posts: 1,059
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Baier View Post
In the US we are required to carry flares so no choice. In my almost 50 years on the water I have never heard of a flare exploding or causing any type of mishap and there are probably hundreds of thousands on US boats.
I hope my post did not read as being a recommendation that NO flares be carried - I thought it was quite clear that I was only talking about the white handheld ones (with a warning about the use of the red ones) and it is hand held flares which are the issue. Whether the law requires carriage of flares or not is hardly relevant as it would be foolish to not carry them on any cruising boat. But one should note the issues with white handhelds and as another has pointed out it seems there is in fact no mandatory requirement to carry white hand held flares in the USA as their function is not for alerting distress (white hand held flares do not appear in the USCG table of appropriate flare requirements for any vessel).

Regarding your having no knowledge of any type of mishap with flares there was a very bad accident in the UK a couple of years back with a white hand held flare during a demonstration (it was widely publicised worldwide) - I have not checked Gord's links but I suspect they refer to that and/or the subsequent recall of white handheld flares. The handle and burning magnesium blew back out of the flare into the abdomen of the person performing the demonstration causing life threatening and permanent injury. I know of many cases of burns caused by these white handheld flares and it is a common recommendation that leather gauntlets should be used if possible. As another poster has mentioned this has also led to the deletion of the need to carry them under the ISAF Special Regulations for Ocean Racing.

In the end it is up to the individual as to whether they place any weight on these experiences or not.
__________________
MidLandOne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2009, 16:56   #12
Marine Service Provider
 
AnchorageGuy's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Wherever the boat is!
Boat: Marine Trader 34DC
Posts: 4,618
John, Working with the US Coast Guard for several years on SAR cases and being a Vessel Examiner for the Coast Guard Auxiliary we are required to carry distress flares on board our cruising boats in US waters.
__________________
Chesapeake Bay, ICW Hampton Roads To Key West, The Gulf Coast, The Bahamas

The Trawler Beach House
Voyages Of Sea Trek
AnchorageGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2009, 17:10   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Colombo
Posts: 1,059
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Baier View Post
John, Working with the US Coast Guard for several years on SAR cases and being a Vessel Examiner for the Coast Guard Auxiliary we are required to carry distress flares on board our cruising boats in US waters.
Chuck it concerns me greatly that you seem to be perservering with promulgating the view that I have claimed anything different. It is only the white handheld flares I am talking about and I have made that very clear. White handlheld flares ARE NOT distress flares, they are intended for indicating position for collision avoidance. They are also not mentioned at all in the USCG's table of appropriate flare requirements for any vessel - for example, USCG: Visual Distress Signals , scroll down to Visual Distress Signal Requirements at the bottom of the page.

(EDIT: Furthermore - I believe, but have been unable to confirm off hand, that there are no standards that the USCG even recognises for white handheld flares. Am relying on memory for that in relation to new builds I have managed required to meet USCG requirements for safety equipment fitout)
__________________
MidLandOne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2009, 17:31   #14
Marine Service Provider
 
AnchorageGuy's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Wherever the boat is!
Boat: Marine Trader 34DC
Posts: 4,618
John, Could be because you quoted my post saying the we are required to carry flares and stated that was not the case. I don't want anyone coming on the board and thinking they are not required to carry them. Yes white flares are not required but distress flares are. MidLandOnes post did give the impression he did not carry flares and felt they were dangerous without distinction as to white or red. That was my reply, and yours seemed to indicate flares are not required and you did not distinguish whether you were referring to white or red. Enough said.
__________________
Chesapeake Bay, ICW Hampton Roads To Key West, The Gulf Coast, The Bahamas

The Trawler Beach House
Voyages Of Sea Trek
AnchorageGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2009, 18:49   #15
Obsfucator, Second Class
 
dacust's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Southeast USA.
Boat: 1982 Sea Ray SRV360
Posts: 1,743
Chuck, Midland, I think you are both making a mistake. I think the "John" that Chuck was originally responding to was cal40john. Then somehow you both got confused as to who was talking to who.

In the flare kits I buy, the white flares are referred to as "Practice Flares". That's what I have always thought they were...

-dan
__________________

__________________
dacust is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Newer 12 ga Flares with older gun? Nimble1 Health, Safety & Related Gear 4 29-04-2016 16:30
Flares for old Very Pistol? Mexico Mike Health, Safety & Related Gear 19 12-03-2015 18:21
Flare Gun, flares and smoke flare on a plane? sgtPluck Health, Safety & Related Gear 3 27-08-2008 18:16
Warning about defective flares Talbot General Sailing Forum 0 13-04-2006 11:12



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:43.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.