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Old 02-03-2013, 10:57   #31
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Re: Required

IMHO nothing should be obligatory.

We should be free to chose the equipment we want to carry and the way we want to die. I say this only in respect of individual/private sailing. Commercial passenger carriers should be regulated and controlled.

I like flares. But I think their design could be updated. Look at any fireworks show and you will get my drift.

The laser flare looks very usable.

b.
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:22   #32
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Re: Required

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Originally Posted by 67Therapy View Post
I used to fly Navy helicopters and have done rescue work. I can see a flare from a longgggg ways away. They are the BEST rescue tool you have. Electronics aren't foolproof, and in the "last leg" of rescue they aren't the most useful tool...my eyes are outside the aircraft looking for you.

...

1. Carry flares.
2. Tie glow sticks on your PFDs! At night, a rescuer on night vision goggles can see a glow stick from a long ways. Even better, spin one on a string above your head like a propeller....can be seen very easily.
Good enough for me. Flares & glow-sticks for the win.
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:49   #33
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Re: Required

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
IMHO nothing should be obligatory.

We should be free to chose the equipment we want to carry and the way we want to die. I say this only in respect of individual/private sailing. Commercial passenger carriers should be regulated and controlled.

I like flares. But I think their design could be updated. Look at any fireworks show and you will get my drift.

The laser flare looks very usable.

b.
I too am in the nothing obligatory camp (UK style ) - which IMHO I think is actually better!...........If someone is capable of finding out about and then reading the legal requirements then they are capable of discovering for themselves that going to sea requires some thought about rescue equipment......whether they then decide to go with nadda or the whole West marine catelogue is up to them. (albeit I agree that commercial is a seperate matter - different principle involved).

Indeed I think it would be better if the USCG issued only suggestions of possible equipment - and a summary of what they do, that way they could mention everything.....rather than someone being misled into thinking that because someone "official" said all that is legally required is X & Y that equipment is all that will ever be needed for every circumstance.

In regard to OP's original question - I think the question is kinda like asking "which is best? A knife or a fork?". The answer depends on what you are doing!...........in the modern era I would be happy to exchange parachute flares for an EPIRB and a VHF, but would want to keep smoke and white flares (if only one type then white - collision avoidance!, but even then a good argument for lighting up the sails with 1 million candles a decent alternative - especially as can be more easily deployed early and just in case).................except where I was going to places where the onshore help (if any!) is not capable of being summoned by electronics because they don't have any!......not to say that my choice(s) would be right every time!
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:56   #34
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Re: Required

I think you are all too much focused on regulations and not enough on what works out there and what not.

Example: personal strobe-lights have saved countless lives. Every sailor should have one on their harness/life-vest. In the Sydney Hobart race alone, many were found just because of their strobe light.
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Old 08-03-2013, 19:08   #35
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Jedi, I was looking at both. What is required and what works. For instance. I have mustang auto inflate jackets which is type v but has d hooks. They say on the label they can not be rated type II. Because the harness feature could cause injury or death.
These auto inflates would really suck to swim in. I tried one and it was good as flotation but sucks for being able to maneuver. Uncomfortable restrictive but approved.
My kayak jacket is comfortable But does not have d hooks. Find me a fair priced harness and jacket that you can swim in.
Given dsc applications could we not require a mmsi registration. Pretty sure that a key on 16 could also send the.mmsi number. Which would report those that use 16 for non emergency calls. . Could I be a taxed vessel in md waters with documentation and not pay the registration fee.
My registry fir my Epirb us through NOAA. My documentation is at uscg. Registration is md. Mmsi is through FCC Does that make sense?
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Old 08-03-2013, 20:03   #36
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Re: Required

I have only fired flares a few times, and I can't say they were very effective. One night I was dismasted about 80 miles out of Los Angeles and saw some running lights within 2 miles--fired off 3 or 4 flares with no response. However, a VHF call on an emergency antenna got me an immediate coast guard response.

OTOH, when I was being chased by a boat in the Gulf of Aden one night,they gave up after I shot off a couple of SOLAS parachute flares.

In summary, if someone is actively looking, a flare is valuable but if they are not, you are far better off with a VHF.
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Old 08-03-2013, 20:29   #37
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Re: Required

Love reading all these posts on CF even though they are (mostly) US centric.

So... Required safety gear - flares and such pyrotechnics.

For us, being two aboard, with offshore passages to offbeat locals during off-season times means self reliance to the Nth degree. Having said that, stuff happens and it's my wife, my boat, and my responsibility to get everyone safely somewhere. Somehow. Even should that mean asking for help.

Got the EPIRB(s), got the SSB, the VHF, the flares and paras and lights and smoke and mirrors and MOB pole and and and and.......

As others (sort of) pointed out, that local village may have brave men in swift canoes who'll notice flares, but out there by the cooking fire they might not have a VHF radio tuned to channel 16. Same goes for the weekend anglers cooking their catch by the shore in, say, the US state of Washington.

Flares work. Visual indicators regardless of the weather or day/night. Nobody really argues that, do they? So go ahead and keep them as "required" equipment. I don't mind.

Would you like a real fight? Try and have replacement flares sent to some corner of the world outside of the West Marine UPS delivery area. (Or bluemarinestore.com for the British readers.) Hazardous stuff, those flare. Required, needed, but "unsafe" to deliver.

Bottom line? You don't need a windscreen in your auto if you wear goggles, but nobody argues against that "requirement". Flares being mandatory, to me, shouldn't really be a point of contention.
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Old 08-03-2013, 20:48   #38
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l recreational boats with installed toilet facilities must have an oper- able marine sanitation device (MSD) on board . Vessels 65 feet and under may use a Type I, II, or III MSD . Type I and Type II are “flow- through” devices, while a holding tank is a Type III device . Vessels over 65 feet must install a Type II or III MSD . All installed MSDs must be U .S . Coast Guard-certified . U .S . Coast Guard-certified devices.
Figure this out. If you dont have installed facility your scott free. Or something. I pasted this from uscg boating . Org.
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Old 08-03-2013, 21:09   #39
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Re: Required

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Originally Posted by svmariane View Post
Love reading all these posts on CF even though they are (mostly) US centric.

Would you like a real fight? Try and have replacement flares sent to some corner of the world outside of the West Marine UPS delivery area. (Or bluemarinestore.com for the British readers.) Hazardous stuff, those flare. Required, needed, but "unsafe" to deliver.
The SOLAS parachute flares can now be shipped. They put them in some sort of restraint so it can't fire and got approval for shipping. I got them that way a year or so ago.

cheers,
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Old 08-03-2013, 21:46   #40
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Makes no sense the parachute flare can ship. The charge is no less then the flare and the canister is near identical. Dumb regulation.
So why is it okay to ship a solas parachute but you can't get a flare with the same charge less the chute?
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Old 09-03-2013, 00:25   #41
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Re: Required

Flares can a useful bit of saftey gear, but when the time comes to renue them I will ask is there a better way I could spend the money/storage.

With the plethora of new equipment such as personal AIS transponders, to give but one example, I think the answer may be that my saftey dollar is better spent elsewhere.

If I was doing more costal cruising I can see more value for the flare option and my conclusion may be different.

I am sure someone will say why skimp on saftey equipment. I generally don't, but untill I have every piece of saftey equipment that could be of use, its a matter of assigning priorities. Flares are not high on my list, and as technology advances they are dropping further down.
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Old 09-03-2013, 00:48   #42
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Re: Required

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
The SOLAS parachute flares can now be shipped. They put them in some sort of restraint so it can't fire and got approval for shipping. I got them that way a year or so ago.

cheers,
Nick.
Thanks for that info ; T'will solve half the battle!

May I ask what vendor you used? And did you need request that special packing, or was it taken care of as normal course of business?
Again, My THANKS !!
James
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:13   #43
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Thanks for that info ; T'will solve half the battle!

May I ask what vendor you used? And did you need request that special packing, or was it taken care of as normal course of business?
Again, My THANKS !!
James
I used Marine Warehouse in Miami; they deliver in many places in the Caribbean. I think they all come packaged like this now.

Here you see it:
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:52   #44
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Re: Required

I am curious ..... in how many/which 'rescues' over say the past decade have flares been a significant factor? I am not aware of any. While I am aware of several incidents where flares were fired and no-one noticed them (see Low Speed Chase just for example, where a whole fleet of race boats did not notice the half dozen flares that were fired).

By contrast, as has been mentioned above, light sticks and personal strobes have very clearly been extremely useful in actual rescue situations (see the bounty incident just for one example).

Regarding smoke (orange) ..... We once had a container ship drop us some spare motor oil (in the middle of the south Atlantic). They tied two orange smoke cans to the (20lt) cans, fired the smoke and dropped them in the water. The orange puff was very visible (we were about 3nm away) but I was surprised by how quickly it blew away. I got just enough time to line our boat up on the smoke and put the autopilot on that bearing and then the smoke was gone. It was in fact enough, we did find the cans floating on that bearing, but it was fortunate the sea conditions were flat.

As an aside the USCG in fact has a working group looking at whether to update/change/revise the flare reg, focused mostly on whether laser alternative might be better. But it will be years before they reach any conclusion and then years more before the regs actually change.
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:10   #45
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Re: Required

Within the USA flares are not required equipment. The USCG rule is that vessels must carry "Visual Distress Signals," and that may include an electric distress light and a distress flag, instead of pyrotechnics.

I have spotted flares and responded a few times, but I think in populated areas the #1 thing to use is the VHF radio, and even if you don't see anyone around try it. With a range of at least 25 miles on the water, and often more, the chances are you are more likely to reach someone by radio than by firing off a flare. I've also read of a lot of rescues where a bright spotlight was very useful to direct the rescue force to you--much better than a flare, because the rescuers can home in on the source of the light, even if you are shining it straight up into the air or waving it around--don't blind the rescuers! Jedi's strobe is good too, but can be very disorienting for those in the vicinity.
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