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  1. #31
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    S.W. France
    Posts
    7,429

    Default Re: Flares...traditional or LED?

    Friend showed me an impressive LED flare. Bristled with lights. I will ask what it was.
    In France, all boats must carry a min of three reds (in date!), though having a HH VHF is, I think, an alternative now.

    Friends capsized outside the Isl d'Aix. After failing to right the boat, they popped of the reds. InterIsland ferry saw the last one and fished them out. Apart from now carrying a VHF, we redisigned the aft of the boat to allow self rescue and tested it out.
    Tried a rocket flare. Very impressed on the height and burn time.

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Devon
    Posts
    2,205

    Default Re: Flares...traditional or LED?

    I'll always carry a few red hand held flares, they give a trail of red smoke and really stand out even against the back ground of a busy harbour. I'd be concerned the LED might just be confused for someone playing with a laser torch. I used one once in Plymouth sound near the break water and it had the desired effect in about 30 seconds.
    quicKutter rope cutter, shaft and rudder bearings
    www.h4marine.com

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    SW Scotland
    Posts
    19,134

    Default Re: Flares...traditional or LED?

    Quote Originally Posted by prv View Post
    Is the question about recognising SOS even relevant - do laser / LED distress lights actually flash this pattern?


    From https://daniamant.com/products/odeo-distress-flare/
    "Seamen are always wanting to do things the proper way; and I like to do them my way."

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Southampton
    Posts
    35,364

    Default Re: Flares...traditional or LED?

    Quote Originally Posted by JumbleDuck View Post
    One model down, how many to go?

    Pete

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Boat: Falmouth. Work: Cambridge
    Posts
    1,346

    Default Re: Flares...traditional or LED?

    I have many reasons to continue to carry hand-held pyrotechnic flares (NB: I'm not talking about rocket / parachute flares:

    1. Hand-held flares are not dangerous: is there any record at all of one going off all by itself despite all yachts and all commercial shipping having carried loads of them for 50 plus years? In contrast, one carries aboard petrol for the outboard, gas for cooking and a mobile phone complete with lithium battery, all of which have caused burns and even death innumerable times. So 'carrying explosives aboard' is not a significant danger with regard to flares.

    2. Hand held flares are easy to dispose of: just let them off inland. Bonfire night if you like. Perfectly legal as said earlier.

    3. They are cheaper: 4 x handled flares at around £15 each lasting 4 years (so £15 p.a.) or a laser at around £90 (Odeo is £115) lasting 6 years, and you may want more than one laser in case of failure, so 2 x £15 p.a.). Hand-held pyrotechnic flares are actually cheaper.

    4. Longevity and reliability: The hand held flares will almost certainly work after 20+ years whereas the laser's Lithium battery will be long dead (not to mention that the battery is itself explosive - see above).

    5. Responsibility to self and crew: if you carry flares you have the option of letting them off, or not, as you judge best for the overall well-being of you and your crew in the circumstances (increased risk of minor burns traded off against reduced risk of perishing at sea - your choice), whereas if you don't carry them you have no such option.

    If anyone still prefers laser flares, there's no rule to stop you carrying both.

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Southminster, essex
    Posts
    9,082

    Default Re: Flares...traditional or LED?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stemar View Post
    My sailing is limited to pottering around the Solent plus the occasional trip to Weymouth, so I've ditched my flares and have an LED "flare". I've never carried rockets, and I reckon the LED job is superior to a handheld flare as it lasts a couple of hours instead of a couple of minutes. Between the DSC VHF, and two mobile phones, I reckon I can get someone's attention, so the flare's job is only to guide them in the last mile or so.
    I would not know a LED flare if I saw one, I never have my phone on when sailing. DSC alarms drive me mad,( stupid French use them to announce irrelevant, to me, weather forecast) so I often turn the main VHF off & just use the non DSC hand held, with limited range.
    But I would recognise & would respond, to a flare if I saw one
    It is all down to the fact that my wife does not understand me !!

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Algarve
    Posts
    11,144

    Default Re: Flares...traditional or LED?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdc View Post
    4. Longevity and reliability: The hand held flares will almost certainly work after 20+ years whereas the laser's Lithium battery will be long dead (not to mention that the battery is itself explosive - see above).
    Down in Lagos, they have flare practice on the beach some years. Of course out of date flares are used. Their failure rate is surprisingly high and the older they get the less reliable they prove. Not for nothing their short shelf life. The most common failure is the fuze. Pull the cord and it comes off in your hand, but no fire.

    Letting them off on the beach is one thing. It takes two hands to ignite them (or use your teeth) so on a rolling deck in a storm, not such a safe trick.

    A laser flare can be operated by one hand and can be tested regularly.

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    mainland uk
    Posts
    265

    Default Re: Flares...traditional or LED?

    I keep all my out of date flares. Hermetically sealed. I have alot of flares now. I would carry a laser flare if there was one that worked in daylight. Odeo MK4 is still not bright enough even though SOS has been added to it.

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    mainland uk
    Posts
    265

    Default Re: Flares...traditional or LED?

    Quote Originally Posted by RAI View Post
    Down in Lagos, they have flare practice on the beach some years. Of course out of date flares are used. Their failure rate is surprisingly high and the older they get the less reliable they prove. Not for nothing their short shelf life. The most common failure is the fuze. Pull the cord and it comes off in your hand, but no fire.

    Letting them off on the beach is one thing. It takes two hands to ignite them (or use your teeth) so on a rolling deck in a storm, not such a safe trick.

    A laser flare can be operated by one hand and can be tested regularly.
    Pains Wessex are one handed.

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Boat: Falmouth. Work: Cambridge
    Posts
    1,346

    Default Re: Flares...traditional or LED?

    Quote Originally Posted by RAI View Post
    Down in Lagos, they have flare practice on the beach some years. Of course out of date flares are used. Their failure rate is surprisingly high and the older they get the less reliable they prove. Not for nothing their short shelf life. The most common failure is the fuze. Pull the cord and it comes off in your hand, but no fire.

    Letting them off on the beach is one thing. It takes two hands to ignite them (or use your teeth) so on a rolling deck in a storm, not such a safe trick.

    A laser flare can be operated by one hand and can be tested regularly.
    I inherited a box of about 40 out-of-date flares, most about 30 years old. One evening we let them off in the garden (not entirely sober I admit: it was my twins' 21st birthday party). Every single one worked just fine. I wonder whether you'd get 40/40 laser flares working after 30 years?

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