Disposal of Flares

Category: General

Out of date flaresOut of date Flares

Here we go again, what do I do with these old flares. I was aware that the rules have been changing, and in the back of my mind I seem to remember getting into trouble turning up at Falmouth MRCC unannounced with a carrier bag of old explosives!

I consulted the internet, and found the following page; Government Information on Flares

You can see from this article that it's now a more complicated process. You need to make an appointment and there are limited facilities to receive these items. I'm not moaning at the Coastguard, this is really a job that they could do without, but my beef is with the Government and the Flare Manufactures.

Firstly, isn't is time we retired the Flare, it's been around since before the Titanic and I would like to think that technology has moved on a little. Even as a small yacht I carry a VHF/DSC Radio and an EPIRB. I have a 3 million candle power torch on-board for attracting attention and a Mobile phone (and yes I know it's limitations). I really think that carrying potential dangerous explosives on-board is a bit ridiculous. Every few year we hear stories of people being injured or even killed through the use of these devices. A hand held flare is quite likely to burn you unless you have protective clothing and /I have heard of boats being set alight from the molten waste from these devices.

Manufacturers need to bring these devices up to date, they need to take responsibility of accepting these items back for (ideally) recyling or at least disposal. 

Better still, let's move forward to improved technology. 

Laser Flares

I've been looking at Laser flares for a while, up until now I've not been convinced of their effectiveness, mainly due to their narrow beam width. The user is required to shine the laser in the direction of the rescuer (without blinding them!)

However, I note with interest the Odeo Flare. This appears to reproduce the light from a standard hand held flare, therefore instantly making it recognisable as a distress signal. No explosives, 5 hours continuous use and the ability to replace the batteries. My only hesitation is that I've seen little evidence of its capabilities. No independent tests and all the video clips are from observing the flare from 10 feet away! I will need to see one of these flares from 3 miles away before I'm convinced. However, the idea is a good one and I fully support the idea.

In the meantime I'm ditching my hand held flares, relying on more modern technology. I'll keep my smokes for helicopter rescues and my parachutes for offshore, but the sooner I can dispose of them all, the happier I will be.





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