Make sure of the expiration dates of signal flares when buying replacements
. Do not accept flares that have less than at least 3 years of "legal" life span remaining. They are expensive and one should try to get the longest serviceable life span possible given their cost.
As we routinely travel off-shore as well as in-shore, our safety equipment
includes a fairly hefty visual distress
signals kit in several air-tight containers. (One for the "mother ship", one for the dinghy
and a third in our "ditch bag" tethered to our life-raft.)
As a matter of routine, I check/inspect all of our safety gear
annually, in June, to ensure that everything is up to date to ensure the greatest likelihood that things will function properly when needed (and, but less so, to ensure we're up-to-snuff in the unlikely event we're subjected to a US Coast Guard Safety
In the USA, signal flares intended for marine
use have expiration dates 42 months after their date of manufacture; and, after which the USCG considers they do not meet legal
requirements (although they almost invariably work
long after their expiration dates!). The foregoing means, of course, that one must replace one's signals at least every three years.
Our signals are now "out of date" so on my way home from the boat
yesterday, I stopped by my local West Marine
outlet to pick up replacements
. Much to my surprise, the packages of 25mm aerial flares on the shelf had expiration dates of August 2020! In other words, only 14 months of "legal" service
life remaining. Considering that a 4-Pack of these flares is priced at $85.00 USD (or $21.25/flare)--and we need two packs--that would be a substantial investment for only 14 months, No?
The Store Manager agreed and has ordered replacements for us but assured me that if they arrive with less than 36 months of service
life remaining we can refuse them (tho' finding more up-to-date replacements may prove problematic given our locale).
N'any case, FWIW...