The Marco Island Sail and Power Squadron recently held a Flare Training/Demonstration at the Marco Island Yacht Club. The United States Coast Guard-Auxiliary also participated, presenting a safety class, which was given to each participant prior to him/her lighting a flare. This was a closed event for Squadron members, USCG-Auxiliary members, and members of boating clubs on Marco Island that registered prior to the event.
Each participant was required to sign a waiver of liability prior to the safety class, and the actual lighting of a flare. All went well with no accidents or fires created by the flares.
Hand-held flares were most popular. Most people had never had an opportunity to shoot off a flare, even though they carry them on their boat for many years. If you feel you are protected, look at the dates on your flares. Out of date flares are less likely to work when you need them, and the Coast Guard will fail your inspection if your flares areout of date.
Eighty people attended the event and said they were glad that they came to learn the proper way to handle and light a flare. During the safety class many people commented that they did not know how dangerous flares can be. Flares generate extreme heat, and discharge the ash portion like molten slug. You need to hold a flare over the side of the boat at approximately a 30-degree angle or less so you do not get burned.
Firing a flare gun is exciting when the flare travels into the sky. A standard flare cartridge will last only seven seconds in the air to alert others as to your position. Be patient and wait, until hopefully, someone is close enough to see your flare. There are many different flares that are shot from a gun. Learn more about flares and flare guns before stocking up.
This was a great event with many people participating, practicing with one safety item from their boat, and of course, no accidents.