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Thread: Signaling Kit
IszatarockWednesday, February 17, 2010, 11:53:00 PM
Category: Rules  Keyword:

I love fireworks as much as the next guy.  But I thought I'd try to get an offical electric signal light instead of flares.  Can't find one anywhere!  Everybody using handheld or aerial flares?

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Thread: Signaling Kit
ChiefRescue Laser
Thursday, February 18, 2010, 6:31:00 AM
Category: Safety  Keyword: Signaling

There is one called the Rescue Laser that you can try. I don't use it myself but found it on Google using "laser signaling device".

The thing is that it doesn't shoot fireworks up in the sky to get a passing boats attention.

But with a PLB and/or a SPOT maybe that is OK. I would highly recommend a strobe light attached to the back of your PFD. Even with a PLB giving your location a rescue helicopter will find you faster at night and in heavy seas if you have a strobe.

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WizardUSCG approved
Thursday, February 18, 2010, 8:42:00 AM
Category: General Comment  Keyword:
While the rescue laser looks like a good product & would be a good thing for a kayaker or other small boater to have, as far as I know it isn't USCG approved as an emergency signal & as such doesn't replace flares as USCG required equipment for nighttime operation.

The only APPROVED alternative to flares I know of  is the old ACR SOS Signal Light which is out of production but still available at some lesser-known shops  on the www.  It's a big bulky uni-tasker (takes 4 DD batteries) so I've never bought one, maybe I should while I still can.

There are a couple smaller lighter products out there that appear to meet USCG's definition for a nighttime signal device (flash SOS automatically) but for one reason or another none have ever gotten USCG approval so also don't meet the requirement.  I REALLY WISH someone would come up with a safe, reliable, long-lasting, airline- packable, alternative to flares so I could stop handing out money to the flare makers every 3 years or whenever I travel...

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Thursday, February 18, 2010, 9:03:00 AM
Category: General Comment  Keyword:

I have a lazer flare just because I'm a gear head, I got a good deal, it fits nicely, etc....  but it is not approved, has limited use, so is not enough.

I finally got tired of the expense of single flares, and thier unreliability, and bought a flare gun.  Cheaper to buy replacements over time, not sure how reliable they are but it can't be worse than the alternative, I find them easier to use, and it fits just fine in my seakayaking PFD pocket.

I also carry a couple of smoke flares.  Every once in awhile I find a small one that will fit in a PFD and I grab it, but I usually carry a couple of those long ones in a case attached under a bungie I put under the front deck of my kayak, easily accessible, but not on me.

My SPOT is on the boat, rented PLB on me, VHF on me, cell easily accessible in waterproof case (bungie under front deck) that makes it usable, and I have a whistle on PFD.

I have also done PFD float tests to verify that all that stuff I carry in my PFD and/or on me still has me floating :)  Worth doing.


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WizardOh yeah, link
Thursday, February 18, 2010, 9:27:00 AM
Category: General Comment  Keyword:
Izatarock, sorry I didn't answer your question, here are a couple links that say they have the ACR SOS light, I don't know any of these places & this is not to endorse any of them, make up your own mind if this is a product you want & where you want to buy:



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maddave440I been saved
Tuesday, February 23, 2010, 10:26:00 PM
Category: General Comment  Keyword:
Hi. I was once shipwrecked and was ready to spend a cold lonely night on a beach. I put one strobe light upon the mast and went to sleep. I was woken up by the sound of a helicopter. I got up and saw the helicopter a great distance away searching the beach with a search light. I was wondering why they did not see my strobe? When they finally arrived, I asked them why they  did not see my strobe? They  told me that  they thought I was a buoy  and I would have caught their attention with two strobes. I now carry three. Maddave
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MacatawaSOS visual signal
Thursday, July 28, 2011, 12:47:00 PM
Category: General Comment  Keyword:
I spent some time looking into this and as far as I can tell, there is not a product sold that meets the USCG requirement.  As I understand it, ACR made such a device, but it is no longer in production: ACR SOS Signal Light 1842.  I did some quick googling, and no one seems to have any in stock.

Let me know if you find anything!

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JollyRogervisual signaling
Thursday, July 28, 2011, 2:12:00 PM
Category: General Comment  Keyword:

I carry the flares but also one of these.


I purchased the larger one, the magnum and keep it on my pdf back with the white strobe.

I keep the flares attached to the deck.


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CapnKevnsos signaling strobe
Thursday, July 28, 2011, 2:30:00 PM
Category: General Comment  Keyword:

Not endorsing this but I did find one...



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Thursday, July 28, 2011, 2:53:00 PM
Category: General Comment  Keyword:

I had a Hydrostar nav light. Same as these but different functions. It did not last very long despite taking great care with it. I took maybe 4 trips with it. I felt the inner workings were too fragile.



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whitecapsTry them.
Thursday, July 28, 2011, 3:19:00 PM
Category: General Comment  Keyword:

Do any of you fire off your flares when they have expired or are about to?


I carry the small hand held ones in my pfd and carried the same ones in my motor boats for years. So far my experience with them has not been very good as far as shooting them when they have been around for awhile. About a 60% failure rate. Maybe I need a better way to take care of them. You do not have to shoot them up into the sky. Point them at a backstop like at your pistol range or whatever.  


I have played with the actual laser lights that were used on the Mississippi races and they still work fine. No good for day time but they will get your attention at night.


Good to hear from you Matt. You ever fly to an event I am driving too your flares will be taken care of.



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Thursday, July 28, 2011, 4:44:00 PM
Category: General Comment  Keyword:
Years ago we fired flares at a Sea Kayak Symposium with the Coast Guards permission. We had the same problems with failure rate using the mini flares, and also, even though we knew when they were being launched, they were almost impossible to see.

IMHO, the mini flares are useful only to satisfy the Coast Guard regulations and a non-approved device like a strobe will get you rescued.

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whitecapsYep totaly useless for us!
Thursday, July 28, 2011, 7:44:00 PM
Category: General Comment  Keyword:

Maybe we can do away with the flare carry rule. Flares work great way offshore in lightly traveled places, Spot lets people know where I have been, a PLB lets someone come get me. Flares give me nothing.


 They are not required for any of my boats legally. In my case they do not work most of the time and I only carry them in water tribe events and anyone doing a long event should be smart enough to have what works for them.


 Is there anyone that has actually used a flare to be rescued ever or even knows someone personally that has?


As far as I know the Water tribe has only had 3 coast guard rescues. None used flares.


Anyone ever responded to a flare? In inshore water a bright momentary light to me and most other is kids playing even around places like Cape Sable. Coming into Miami doing the UFC at night and shoot of a flare. Good luck!


  Tell the truth now how many of you would alter coarse in the EC to investigate a bright light flash  (ie a flare maybe.) Face it I will not! What has got my attention at night is someone constantly shining a light at me. Now I am either curious or mad. Either way I come to you. Some weird light shining at me I am going to check it out maybe.


Do what ever ya want. If I want someone to come shut up the whimpering and crying I will have my PLB and a very good proven VHF a bright headlight and some common knowledge.   


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ChiefFlares and Signalling Kits
Friday, July 29, 2011, 6:58:00 AM
Category: General Comment  Keyword:

The requirement is stated rather vaguely because what the Coast Guard requires depends on your boat. Kayaks and other small boats don't need much. But some of the bigger class 4 and 5 boats might need more. Since you are the expert, it is up to you to figure out what is required by the Coast Guard.

The whistle that must be part of your PFD is a signalling device. It is required by the CG for all PFDs. You are wearing your PFD, right?

You all need a hand held flashlight and virtually all of you will be wearing a head lamp. I like a headlamp that gives me options for low intensity visibility around the cockpit but also has a high intensity light as a backup for my hand held.

For many of you that is the minimum. I suggest a few more items.

A signal mirror is a very good day time signalling device. I carry one in my PFD.

Since my life is important, I carry an EPIRB/PLB in my PFD. This costs a lot of money but is more reliable as a rescue beacon than the SPOT. Plus I have the SPOT tied to the deck of my boat so if I get seperated I still have the PLB.

I also carry three small handheld flares in my PFD. Some have said these are useless and made some very good points to backup that claim. Flares may not be useful in all cases, but they could be useful in other cases. Recall DolphinGal's article where she says,

"If you dump and are alone offshore, get a flare and put it in the front vest pocket or someplace immediately accessible. Fire it off if a boat is near, even if you think they’ll pass close enough to see you without it. Fishermen are too focused to notice much outside their tunnel vision. Had I fired off a flare towards them when I saw the boat shortly after I dumped, they’d have seen it, and then me. Perhaps with their help, I could have gotten my kayak in order, got back in, and been on my way again within an hour. "

That is the extent of my kit. It all fits in my PFD except the handheld flashlight and the headlamp.


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Friday, July 29, 2011, 12:43:00 PM
Category: General Comment  Keyword:
I just got in my TekTite "Mark-Lite" strobe.
(got it free with my white, green, red nav lites)
It's small enough to fit almost anywhere,
it uses a single AA battery,
and that's nice if you're trying to stay with one battery type (or 2).
It's also pretty bright! a big plus there!
It also has a quick flash rate,
not to be confused with a buoy (as explained here earlier).  
I got the yellow body model, like all my lites.

I too am thinking hard about a flare gun. (vs hand held flares)
and keeping it real handy.

Smoke would also be a good thing to use .....

In my military training we also used dye for the water, humm........

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stripbuilderreliable flares
Friday, July 29, 2011, 1:08:00 PM
Category: General Comment  Keyword:
For about 7 years I've carried a Orion flare gun, and tested it at least each year. Every time it has worked, even using old flares. This discussion thread just encourages me to keep carrying it on trips. I also have a PLB, VHF, and spot. I purchased one of the SOS devices from ACR about four years ago, and it quit working after about two years.
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whitecapsflare gun
Saturday, July 30, 2011, 4:49:00 PM
Category: General Comment  Keyword:

You may have something with a regular flare gun. I have not played with one to see how well the shells hold up. The flares themself are like a shotgun shell and I know I can keep a shotgun shell waterproof.

I do not think I would like someone shooting a flare at me up close and personal so it could be used more than one way, think about it.


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spidennisflare gun
Saturday, July 30, 2011, 5:18:00 PM
Category: General Comment  Keyword:
I too am liking the fact that a flare gun is multi purpose ....

so punk, you feel lucky?  so do you punk? (in a clint-ish kinda way)
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stripbuilderother uses
Saturday, July 30, 2011, 5:40:00 PM
Category: General Comment  Keyword:
In bear country flare guns have another use. Don't try to shoot the bear with it. Fire the flare at the ground between you and the bear. Bears don't like fiery things. A friend of mine has used his shooting over the bow of power boaters that came too close. The shotgun type flare shells are very water proof. I had it on my deck for the whole EC and NCC in 09 and the shells worked after them when tested.
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