Pains Wessex white handheld flare recall^

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Bertie..
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Pains Wessex white handheld flare recall^

Post by Bertie.. » Mon May 08, 2006 9:02 am

Just recieved the following email...
Hi

For your information, Pains Wessex have announced a total recall of all their white handheld flares following a serious incident.

I've sent this to existing and retired sea safety volunteers in case you have these flares on your own boat or know somebody that may have them.

When talking to boat owners, please let them know to take their white handheld flares back to the place of purchase and ask for a refund.

Keith

Keith Colwell
RNLI Divisional Sea Safety Manager - South
Unit A, Long Acre, Saltash, Plymouth, PL12 6LX.
Correspondence address:
96 Marshwood Avenue, Poole, Dorset, BH17 9EP.

Dave Thomas
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Post by Dave Thomas » Mon May 08, 2006 9:38 am

Heard this also on the coastguard MSI broadcast in Pembrokeshire yesterday. Didn't absorb all the detail (as I don't have any white flares) but I though they gave out affected type or serial numbers, not ALL white handhelds.

Indeed, just done a quick Google, and found http://www.ybw.com/auto/newsdesk/200603 ... mnews.html

Dave Thomas

Bertie..
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Post by Bertie.. » Mon May 08, 2006 9:43 am

The 51-year-old married yachtsman suffered severe burns and broken bones to his hand and arm before the metal tube entered his abdomen and burst out through his back causing internal injuries.
That sounds horrendous - let's hope this guy has a swift recovery.

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Mon May 08, 2006 8:21 pm

Anyone who does have white flares, do remember to follow the instructions and take them back to where you bought them or another chandler/shop if you can't go back to where you got them. Do not post them to anyone!

My boss tells me that one of her scariest experiences was working at Simpson Lawrence years ago and receiving a flare in the post with a covering note explaining that it was being returned because it had failed to fire......

JIM

SeaDoug
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Collision warning flares

Post by SeaDoug » Mon May 08, 2006 10:19 pm

Checking my flare bag, I have one of these but lot number 2024 with expiry date 12/2005 - OK its out of date, but I would not have replaced it in normal course of events this year.

I rotate replacements, and apart from a miniflare set (12/2006) which I do replace when expiring, I carry 2 x para flares (1 dated 12/2005 other 12/2008) plus red pinpoint (12/2008) orange smoke (12/2004 and next to replace) and finally a double ended day/night smoke/pinpoint (12/2008).

Miniflare set lives in my B.A. pocket at sea, rest are in drybag clipped to backrest in cockpit where I can reach, but need to take off spraydeck to get to them.

I dont particularly like the idea of having flares on deck, but maybe I could carry in deckbag?

Am I suffering from overkill and paranoia, or do others carry similar? Thoughts on the best stowage? Results from anyone who has used for real?

SeaDoug

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Mon May 08, 2006 11:26 pm

That's about what I carry, no collision, 1 para, 2 red handflares, 2 orange handsmokes and a pack of miniflares. They have different purposes so it's worth carrying a variety. A parachute is good for getting attention but it's a one shot wonder (2 in your case), so the miniflares are useful as a backup and if fired in pairs a few minutes apart as recommend on the destructions. Handflares. handsmokes or day/night signals (compact mix of the 2) are only any good when searchers are in the area looking already, but given that even if they are in the vicinity it 's like looking for a needle in a haystack they are well worth having for guiding a rescue in. Also you can't fire aerial flares when there is a helicopter overhead looking for you, would be kind of annoying not to have any way of attracting their attention because all you had on you were parachutes.....

I'm not sure about keeping out of date flares to use first, I would be gutted to find I had been carrying extra ballast - is therer any danger of old flares becoming unstable or is it simply a damp squib issue? I buy a few flares each year with the intention of replacing a few as their expiries come round (rather than the whole lot at once), next year will be the first time I reach this stage.

Don't see the point of collision flares in Scotland, there aren't that many fast moving vessels that we couldn't paddle out of the way of, I guess it might be a different scenario in the English channel!

JIM

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Post by CaileanMac » Tue May 09, 2006 12:26 am

Jim
Don't see the point of collision flares in Scotland, there aren't that many fast moving vessels that we couldn't paddle out of the way of, I guess it might be a different scenario in the English channel!
Totally agree - best action to take if you think a collision is likely turn off your current course by 90 degrees and PLF (paddle like .....). Might as right in reality as apposed to that the Regulations for preventing collisions at sea state.

As to collision flares - nice idea but given that we are only 2/3 ft above sea level and that's before any swell they aren't that much use on their own. Is there anyone actually looking out to sea to see your white collision flare from the wheel house of the 20,000 ton boat bearing down on you? Much better when combined with a VHF radio 'securite' broadcast or directed message 'large container ship heading South in An Another Sound' will get your message across - don't run over the speed bumps...opps sea kayaks ;-)

Personally I carry 2x Para Reds, 1xOrange Smoke & 1x Red Pinpoint in drybag. Day/night flare on buoyancy aid along with VHF radio in busy shipping areas / night / dodgy conditions. Coupled with a VHR radio + spare battery and mobile phone gives a good arensal of alarm raising options for almost every where in the UK.

CaileanMac

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NickB
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Post by NickB » Tue May 09, 2006 7:21 am

I also carry a variety of pyros in my arsenal, but no collision flares. I have had a bit of experience with out of date flares on bonfire night, some upto 10 years ish out of date and they still seem to fire okay if they haven't been attacked by tin worm in their firing mechanisms. What does seem to change is their colour and intensity, with a reduced impact (read this somewhere else as well!).
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SeaDoug
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Collision Flares

Post by SeaDoug » Tue May 09, 2006 8:40 am

No fast vessels around Scotland.....?
Last year crossing a CalMac route (we saw some go past when camping) we set out in very reduced visibility, and could hear engines out there in the mist.
Loud engines.
Now I approve of the "get out of the way" tactic (I am ex MN and worked on some big ships so I know how invisible even small sail boats are) but when you are not sure which way they are coming at you and how early you will see them, I think a flare at hand is an extra insurance worth having. Colour is probably irrelevant, I would just like them to have a chance of missing me!
Nothing came out of the mist, and the engine was probably a fishing boat - and my flare pack was behind me in the cockpit - so not at hand. Is a deck bag stowage a better idea?????
No out of date flare has ever failed to fire when I "bonfire night" test, so a few months out of date carried as back up hopefully will never be used.....
SeaDoug

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Post by Bertie.. » Tue May 09, 2006 8:41 am

Jim wrote:Don't see the point of collision flares in Scotland, there aren't that many fast moving vessels that we couldn't paddle out of the way of, I guess it might be a different scenario in the English channel!

JIM
It's a different scenario down here on the South Coast, but I don't bother with collision flares either. I figure even if a large vessel saw my collision flare they'd probably still not see me in time.

I'm with Cailean's school of thought - turn 90degrees and PLF!

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Post by Dave Thomas » Tue May 09, 2006 9:41 am

Bertie.. wrote:I'm with Cailean's school of thought - turn 90degrees and PLF!
Me too! Mind you, I was berated for this attitude by someone in a similar thread here last year - on the basis that if some upstart small boat person starts rewriting the Rule of the Road it leads to chaos and anarchy. I'd still rather take my own responsibility for clearly and unambiguously avoiding - at an early stage - any question of being run down, in preference to hoping that I had actually been seen from the bridge of a large vessel. This is particularly so in areas (such as those we frequent quite a lot of the time) where even as small a vessel as a small trawler may not have a lot of room (or at any rate depth) for manoeuvre.

As for flares, I currently carry 1 x red para, 1 x red handheld and 1 x red handsmoke - all in a deck bag. I'm considering also getting a day-night to have in my BA pocket - downside is (a) the disproportionate cost, and (b) the well-documented difficulty of pulling the 'ring-pull' firing mechanism without slicing your finger off. All that plus VHF, mobile phone and strobe light on BA strap.

As an aside, I currently also carry my VHF on deck - not entirely happy with that, but haven't yet devised a good way of carrying it on my person (don't have - or even much like the idea of) a BA back pocket, and it is very cumbersome in a front pocket.

Dave Thomas

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NickB
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Post by NickB » Tue May 09, 2006 10:04 am

Dave Thomas wrote:
As an aside, I currently also carry my VHF on deck - not entirely happy with that, but haven't yet devised a good way of carrying it on my person (don't have - or even much like the idea of) a BA back pocket, and it is very cumbersome in a front pocket.
Agree with the cumbersome bit Dave, but you do better than me, my VHF (and a lot of the time my flares) live in the day hatch! maybe I need to look at this a bit further!
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Post by sub5rider » Tue May 09, 2006 10:25 am

Dave Thomas wrote:...... I currently also carry my VHF on deck - not entirely happy with that, but haven't yet devised a good way of carrying it on my person Dave Thomas
I tuck mine between BA and collar-bone with antennae sticking out. My BA is a snug fit so it tends to stay in place most of the time, and is close to the ear so you don't miss out on the papping. I don't use it in an aquapak (it's an Icom) so it's kept reasonably dry in day-to-day usage too.

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Post by Owen » Tue May 09, 2006 10:44 am

My flares live in a dry bag that I keep under the front deck between my knees. I stuck velcro on the underside of the deck and the outside of the dry bag then glassed 4 small rings in place, I threaded bungee cord through the rings. This holds the flare in place and as there inside the cockpit there out of the way, so wont get damaged and its also a dryer place than behind the seat.
Yes I'd have to pop my spraydeck to get at them but its a fair compromise between keeping them handy and safe. I carry 1 x red para, 1 x orange smoke, 2 x red hand held, plus a day/night in my BA.
I've a lot of experience of mini-flare from the Army; I wouldn't waste my money on them. If you can fit them together and fire them with your cold wet hands chances are they will fail; something like 30% are duds. I've also seen people shot themselves with their flares!

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Post by NickB » Tue May 09, 2006 10:51 am

Owen wrote:
I've a lot of experience of mini-flare from the Army; I wouldn't waste my money on them. If you can fit them together and fire them with your cold wet hands chances are they will fail; something like 30% are duds. I've also seen people shot themselves with their flares!
Surely another 7 out of 10 working has got to be handy, it may just make the difference, one or two chances from your paras is a start but the more the merrier I say!
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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Tue May 09, 2006 11:13 am

The Kokatat range of BA's has some handy features for radio and flare storage - there's a front pocket which will take a VHF and an sort of internal pocket behind the front zip that can hold a flare. The ba closes with two fastex buckles inside the zipper, so stays on if you undo the zip.

That said, I prefer to carry a smoke/red in one of the external pockets. A red para rocket lives in a w/proof tube in my deck bag, and another red rocket, a smoke and a red flare lives in a Knoydart tow-line bag velcroed to the underside of the fore-deck.

Mike

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Geoff Seddon
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Post by Geoff Seddon » Tue May 09, 2006 1:07 pm

A selection of flares in a variety of places for me. Bungeed into the cockpit, stashed in the deck bag (which I think are brilliant) and stuffed in my BA. VHF held on left hand BA shoulder strap with velcro ties from the bottom of wet suits, which gives easy one hand operation (absolutely vital coz Phil always calls up at the most inconvenient time, on purpose of course and not replying is read as being an inability to reply) and provides a high up nearly vertical aerial position. Also being close to my ear I can have the volume fairly low. To cross threads a moment, herbs and spices are carried and used from an upwind position as soon as possible after landing, not because they make food taste better but rather that they smell fantastic and pi** off the pasta and dehydrated brigade. Sea kayaking a chilled out wilderness experience? B****cks it is. Come with us you'll feel much more relaxed back at work, so there's a bonus.
The views expressed above are my own and in no way reflect the policy, aims or objectives of Bolton Canoe Club.

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Geoff Seddon
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Post by Geoff Seddon » Tue May 09, 2006 1:21 pm

Oh I've had experience of miniflares for thirty odd years and certainly for the last twenty, misfires have been rare and I haven't seen one go horizontal for a long while. The modern bayonet fix is much easier to use than the old screw attachment so I'm a fan. 8 goes has got to be good particularly for the volume of the pack.

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Post by andreadawn » Tue May 09, 2006 5:59 pm

MikeB wrote:The Kokatat range of BA's has some handy features for radio and flare storage - there's a front pocket which will take a VHF
Yes, I've got one of those Mike. If I put my ICOM in it, the antenna either sticks up my nose or pokes me in the eye every time I lean forward. I use said pocket for my (more important) Chunky Kitkats now!

Andrea

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Post by Pelagic » Tue May 09, 2006 7:11 pm

(absolutely vital coz Phil always calls up at the most inconvenient time, on purpose of course and not replying is read as being an inability to reply)
Maybe I should text him instead......................

Phil

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Tue May 09, 2006 9:08 pm

Owen wrote:I've a lot of experience of mini-flare from the Army; I wouldn't waste my money on them. If you can fit them together and fire them with your cold wet hands chances are they will fail; something like 30% are duds. I've also seen people shot themselves with their flares!
I avoided them for many years because I had heard this reputation from ex-squaddies and the like, but then someone pointed out that the latest incarnation (miniflare 3 I think) has solved the problems and they are both useable and reliable now, as Geoff says the bayonet fitting lines up easily and only needs a 90 degree twist.

JIM

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Mini flares

Post by SeaDoug » Tue May 09, 2006 11:40 pm

"I avoided them for many years because I had heard this reputation from ex-squaddies and the like, but then someone pointed out that the latest incarnation (miniflare 3 I think) has solved the problems and they are both useable and reliable now, as Geoff says the bayonet fitting lines up easily and only needs a 90 degree twist. "

But dont rely on them for any distance Jim! A few years ago on an exercise, we set off a whole set in pairs - and the rescue service less than 1 mile away, who were watching for the signal, did not see them (daylight I admit).

SeaDoug

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