smoke flares^

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guy
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smoke flares^

Post by guy » Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:18 pm

I was looking at alife jacket the other day that had a pocket under the main front zip for flares.


What flares do the good folk here recommend?

I assume they will be abused and left in a salty damp pocket from 1 week to the next.
Are there any that are particularly waterproof, designed for divers perhaps

How many should be carried, I would have thought one or two in a life jacket pocket was enough, There is enough "essential" kit strapped onto the average life jacket these days that it is a suprise they still float.

Guy

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Geoff Seddon
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Post by Geoff Seddon » Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:40 am

Mini-flares and a day/night in the BA and a couple of parachutes plus a collision in the boat.

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ChrisS
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Post by ChrisS » Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:48 am

I think the night and day ones are the only ones which are properly waterproof. They are relatively expensive but will fit in a BA pocket and you get two flares in one - orange smoke one end and red flare at the other.

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Geoff Seddon
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Post by Geoff Seddon » Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:58 am

Yep and even the day/night could do with some protection. By the way the night bit is very visible in daytime. Top Tip - Always set off a smoke flare in the downwind hand, though the consequences of not doing are extremely amusing.

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Mark Gawler
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Post by Mark Gawler » Fri Nov 10, 2006 7:38 am

One of theses IKAROS handheld flares flares (from a flare pack) has been seen to work after being kept in a BA pocket on and off for 2 years. It was beginning to look battered and apparently the pull ring was rusty, but it worked.

To protect them you can get a flare tube, but at £20. it's a bit pricey. I'm looking in to a DIY B&Q alternative.

MarkG

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Post by markpawley » Fri Nov 10, 2006 8:38 am

Flare tube - A length of solvent fit waste pipe, two joining pieces and two inspection covers cemented together with Bostik is a £5- alternative. (Thanks Helen - I pinched your idea)

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runswick2000
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Post by runswick2000 » Fri Nov 10, 2006 9:02 am

RNLI lifejackets have a day/night in a pouch either side, unprotected essentially. They stay on the jackets for a couple of years until their expiry date, we then use them for training in the months running up to this. I have set off dozens and seen hundreds set off and never seen one work less that perfectly. I couldn't recommend anything else. I carry 3, one on my BA, one in my spray deck pouch and one in my grab bag.

Hope this helps!
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Dave Thomas
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Post by Dave Thomas » Fri Nov 10, 2006 9:20 am

What is the RNLI experience of using them with cold wet hands - when (from CG comments and peoples' experience of test firing at symposium demos) the ring pull is very hard to pull and tends to cut into the finger?

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runswick2000
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Post by runswick2000 » Fri Nov 10, 2006 9:26 am

Of course it is slightly harder but still very possible. The trick is to resist the temptation to put a finger through the ring. Instead put your thumb under the ring, index finger opposing it on top and then rotate your hand. You have a good grip this way and there is no danger of either pulling the flare towards you or staying attached to it if it miss-fires.

Hard to explain I guess but will show you next time I see you!
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Zoe Newsam
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Post by Zoe Newsam » Fri Nov 10, 2006 9:44 am

The day/nights only burn for 20 seconds, and cost £40; the normal hand-helds are easier to fire, burn for 60 seconds, and cost £8 each. A no-brainer, as far as I can see!
Last edited by Zoe Newsam on Fri Nov 10, 2006 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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adrian j pullin
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Post by adrian j pullin » Fri Nov 10, 2006 9:52 am

But the day/night are waterproof and fit in a BA pocket.

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runswick2000
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Post by runswick2000 » Fri Nov 10, 2006 9:52 am

zoenewsam wrote:The day/nights only burn for 20 seconds, and cost £40; the normal hand-helds are easier to fire, burn for 60 seconds, and cost £8 each. A brainer, as far as I can see!
Good point, however, you are buying a fare that does have 2 ends (which partly explains the high price) and is also very robust and survives years worth of neglect hanging on a BA. It is also compact and easy to store. Dare I say you get what you pay for?
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Post by Bertie.. » Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:13 am

I carry two double ended "day & night" flares (one in BA and one on deck), and two red parachute rockets.

I work on the theory that if I have to rely on any piece of kit then I will employ the redundancy approach - i.e. have a spare with me. I also don't want to be in the situation where two people on the shore line have the following conversation..

wife: did you see that??
husband: what??
wife: a bright light??
husband: well, there's nothing there now..

I work on the the theory that the first flare might get their attention, so I'll fire a second shortly afterwards to confirm/prove it was a flare.

That said, a flare to me is only backup for a VHF mayday call (which I carry spare batteries for).

On an advanced trip, I would have expectations that everyone was carrying something similar. That way, it would be like Bonfire night if I needed assistance!!

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Post by CaileanMac » Fri Nov 10, 2006 11:50 am

Image

Runswick2000
The trick is to resist the temptation to put a finger through the ring. Instead put your thumb under the ring, index finger opposing it on top and then rotate your hand. You have a good grip this way and there is no danger of either pulling the flare towards you or staying attached to it if it miss-fires.
I akin it to opening an'old style' ring pull can of coke - if that makes any sense? Knotted piece of cord will allow you pull away, up and then towards you action even if you have really 'fat' numb and cold hands. Starting of course with the ring pull side of flare pointing away from you!

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guy
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Day and night it is

Post by guy » Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:43 pm

Cheers I'm off to knoydart (the shop) this afternoon

What is the shelf life of these things.
I don't want to buy one that is half used up.

Guy

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runswick2000
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Re: Day and night it is

Post by runswick2000 » Fri Nov 10, 2006 12:50 pm

guy wrote:What is the shelf life of these things.
I don't want to buy one that is half used up.

Guy
Anything up to 3 years
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Bertie..
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Post by Bertie.. » Fri Nov 10, 2006 1:00 pm

I don't know about elsewhere, but around Weymouth the amount of shelf life left sometimes dictates the price. Therefore, when doing price comparisons, also check the expiry date.

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tpage
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Post by tpage » Fri Nov 10, 2006 1:36 pm

Cailean, I'm really intrigued. Whats with the tin of custard?
_Tony

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Post by grazie » Fri Nov 10, 2006 2:01 pm

tpage wrote:Whats with the tin of custard?
It's a North Shore day/night flare marketed by Ambrosia. This one contains custard coloured smoke. Doesn't the 70s paint job/decals make it obvious? So unkewl...not one for me I'm afraid!

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Post by Bertie.. » Fri Nov 10, 2006 2:04 pm

tpage wrote:Cailean, I'm really intrigued. Whats with the tin of custard?
_Tony
Surely, "Devon only knows", to quote their old ad campaign.

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Douglas Wilcox
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Nectar of Ambrosia

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Fri Nov 10, 2006 2:40 pm

I have had the very great pleasure of paddling with Cailean in a variety of (usually rough) conditions. That can of "Ambrosia" accompanies him every where, as part of his emergency kit. He never shows the bottom but I believe there is a small tap for the dispensation of an amber coloured, sustaining nectar.

I have a photo of the rest of Cailean's impressive emergency pack which I will post later. He even has a blow torch for the repair of poly boats! One thing I was afraid to ask about (but being a doctor....) were the rubber gloves!

Douglas :o)

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Post by CaileanMac » Fri Nov 10, 2006 3:26 pm

One can't relieve all his secrets? Can one? ;-)

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Robin Ashcroft
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Slight aside, but relevant nonetheless

Post by Robin Ashcroft » Fri Nov 10, 2006 5:07 pm

Although the "use by dates" on my flares - red paras and hand flares - was mid 2007, I decided I couldn't wait until Guy Fawkes next year to responsibly let them off. So in the interest of fun, they were dig out of the dry bags I store them in.

I'm glad I did, as on deploying them I discovered that the corrosion on the firing mechanism on the red Schermully was really quite advanced. Couldn't see under the plastic of the hand flares, but it may also have been bad. This was a bit of a shock as I'd always kept them in dry bags whilst on the water and stored them in a dry airy place at home.

Having said they all worked perfectly well.

I've concluded however, that I need to change strategy and rely on something more effective than dry bags. I just wonder if salt laden air is almost as bad a salt-laden water? I suspect it is.

The red paras are the best solution for drawing attention, so I'll certainly be buying some more, but looking at the waterproof tubes in the future.

My plan is to go to day/night in BA for final location fix, but I'm tempted NOT to rely on their inherent waterproofing and back up in some way with an additional layer. I seem to recall an idea in a mag/website - possibly by Justine K - suggesting vaccuum wrap and including a nail, in with the flare, to puncture the wrapping/break the vaccuum so you can actually get at it if needs must/with wet & cold hands.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this - or other idea for an additional waterproof layer.

Aye - Robin

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Post by grazie » Fri Nov 10, 2006 5:16 pm


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NeilG
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Post by NeilG » Fri Nov 10, 2006 6:39 pm

I carry a pack of mini flares in my PFD. I don't hold much faith in them due to the short burn time but they are better than nothing.

As far as the expiry date goes, this is the date the manufacturer guarantees it to. They will last much longer if cared for, but I would keep some in date ones handy! I've seen a Painswessex mini-flare used in a demonstration. It was 11 years out of date and worked perfectly, colour and burn time both fine, so i would not ditch them too soon...

I would go for full size flares due to the burn time. Painswessex are advertised as being waterproof. I've thought about making the storage tubes too, but i think a sandwich bag, changed regularly would do just as well. If you are thinking of using a flare, you must be on your last legs and anything too complicated will just get in the way. A bag you can bite the top off is my idea of simple waterproofing!

Bulk purchase between regular paddling group members allows you to split the cost ie buy an offshore flare pack from a yacht chandler and split the contents. I'm trying to talk my fellow conspirators in to a RORC pack this winter (the full montyof flares).

Incidentally, most chandlers will be out of stock. They buy them in over the winter so that they carry the latest date for the start of the next season.

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Post by Cameron » Fri Nov 10, 2006 6:44 pm

I used to keep a day/night flare in my diving BA with nothing more than electrical tape (with pull tabs) as additional sealing over the end caps. I took it out and left it behind if my dive was planned below 20m, which was a purely arbitrary figure plucked out of thin air.

Several years after I stopped diving, and well after the use by date, I finally let if off one bonfire night along with some seriously ancient mini-flares. They all worked perfectly.

Cameron

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GRM
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Post by GRM » Fri Nov 10, 2006 6:50 pm

This might be a stupid question, but how do people usually get rid of out of date pyrotechnics? I was interested to read about the out of date miniflares as I've got some (ahem) rather old ones. Although they still look OK, I'm really not sure I'd like to use them now. Any suggetsions?

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Post by NeilG » Fri Nov 10, 2006 7:05 pm

As long as nothing is obviously wring with them, they will work still. HM Coastguard will take them off you. The RNLI use them for practice and demos.

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runswick2000
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Post by runswick2000 » Fri Nov 10, 2006 7:46 pm

Cameron wrote:I used to keep a day/night flare in my diving BA with nothing more than electrical tape (with pull tabs) as additional sealing over the end caps. I took it out and left it behind if my dive was planned below 20m, which was a purely arbitrary figure plucked out of thin air.
Cameron
Day and nights were developed originally for divers (military) and are good down to 30m. You can buy a special canister for them if you wish to go below that.......however, it's really not needed as these flares will easily last to their expiry date with no extra protection and still be ok and perform like new.

As for disposal, take them to the Coastguard. With respect the RNLI won't take them, we use our own 'just about to go out of date' flares for exercising and demonstrating. We wouldn't use ones brought in by the public.
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Geoff Seddon
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Post by Geoff Seddon » Fri Nov 10, 2006 8:08 pm

I would suggest you set them off yourself. That way you become familiar with their operation. Bonfire night is a good time as is New Year, leading to less risk of you causing chaos and mayhem with big yellow paraffin eating budgies arriving overhead. Of course if they are all acky and smelly, just put them in the bin.

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