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Old 01-31-2019, 07:53 AM
USCG Safe Boating D8
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 368

Originally Posted by dannyroche View Post
I have a couple of gripes I always wanted to post....

I know these things need to verified on some sort of schedule. We all want them to work when needed but it feels that its just another way to gaff the boating community.
If we want safety gear to be pervasive, we need to ensure you don't have to give up and arm and a leg every few years just to have it.

Why doesn't the Coast Guard actively lobby for:
1.) Flare manufacturers to set realistic expiration dates on flares, safety flare guns etc. It seems like the manufacturers set expiration dates quite short to extract as much money as they can from boaters. This safety gear is the biggest racket going. I've had 20 year old flares that work just fine. What is the plan for expired flares? Seems like nobody accepts them anymore.
2.) EPIRB and PLB manufacturers to price battery replacements fairly. The PLB batteries are in one case uses a clunky (3) CR123 lithium gang cell that they want $100 to replace. EPIRBs are worse.
3.) Raft repacking. Yet another high priced scam by manufacturers to require testing and repacking on extremely short windows.

Just feels like you don't even get kissed anymore with a boat....

Look at you opening a can of worms on me! I understand your frustration. The decisions affecting your concern take place in a part of the Coast Guard where I have no experience. I can confidently say that the expiration dates are not arbitrary. There was a lot of research and science that went into that. I have a hunch that the dates are based on a worse case scenario, but don't hold me to that.

Battery technology is improving. Many EPIRB batteries have a ten year life now. I don't know if improvements have been made in PLB battery life. Maybe one of the members here can shed light on that.

When I was stationed in Gulfport in the 2000's someone contacted me and asked if I would take a box of old flares from them. Some of the flares were from the 80's. I am a curious sort, so I took them. I made the necessary arrangements to do a live flare shoot with some of my crew. I was surprised at how many of the really old flares worked. But then one or two of the newer ones failed.

I will probably start a thread on flares at some point. We'll get into a more focused discussion there.
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