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Flare Guns vs. Handheld Flares

Old 07-13-2005, 06:00 PM
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Default Flare Guns vs. Handheld Flares

Several of us were discussing flares and of course there was some disagreement in the group.

Couple of guys said handheld flares were not acceptable for offshore use and could only be used inshore. Said you were require to have flare gun for offshore use.

What the real story?
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Old 07-13-2005, 06:06 PM
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Default RE: Flare Guns vs. Handheld Flares

You are not required to have a flare gun on board anywhere...you are only required to have three cg approved flares with current dates.

Having said that, reality is that the normal cheap flares give off so little light that they can't be seen unless it's a moonless night.

If you are at all serious about safety, you will carry SOLAS flares which burn much brigher and you will carry a 25mm (not a 12mm) flare gun. With those two, you might actually be able to show a signal that someone can see. Of course you can add aerial flares, smoke, dye and so on.....but don't rely on those cheap flares to do anything other than allow you to pass a safety inspection.
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Old 07-13-2005, 06:21 PM
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Default Re: Flare Guns vs. Handheld Flares

Flare guns are easier to aim if your intended targets are lake lice.
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Old 07-13-2005, 06:23 PM
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Default Re: Flare Guns vs. Handheld Flares

These flares devices are only useful to draw immediate attention to yourself after a search is underway. That's when rescuers are looking for them. Firing a 6 second flare 90 feet high in the middle of the ocean isn't going to do shaat to bring attention to your predicament.

The best thing about a flare gun is that it's about the only legal handgun obtainable in many places. A 12 gauge flare in the face at ten paces really does get someone's attention! They don't even care what color it is! A friend, who sails a great deal around Caribe waters, carries around a dozen of them! All loaded....

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Old 07-13-2005, 09:15 PM
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Default Re: Flare Guns vs. Handheld Flares

Keep in mind that a flare shot at someone can easily bouce off and land in your boat. I think they give people a false sense of security. If I was going to shoot someone [which I'm not] it would be something in the range of .40 caliber, not something shot out of a piece of plastic. Have you ever tried aiming one of those things?
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Old 07-13-2005, 10:26 PM
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Default Re: Flare Guns vs. Handheld Flares

Yea...screw the plastic flare gun, use a pump shotgun to shoot people and flares.
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Old 07-14-2005, 11:00 AM
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Default Re: Flare Guns vs. Handheld Flares

Hmmmmmmm....

What would happen if I tried to shoot a 12 guage flare out of my shotgun? Just curious....whould that work?!
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Old 07-14-2005, 11:50 AM
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Default Re: Flare Guns vs. Handheld Flares

Philyteach - 7/14/2005 11:00 AM

Hmmmmmmm....

What would happen if I tried to shoot a 12 guage flare out of my shotgun? Just curious....whould that work?!
Only one way to find out...Hey yall, watch this...
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Old 07-14-2005, 12:05 PM
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Default Re: Flare Guns vs. Handheld Flares

Philyteach - 7/14/2005 11:00 AM

Hmmmmmmm....

What would happen if I tried to shoot a 12 guage flare out of my shotgun? Just curious....whould that work?!
It will work. The .12 guage flares don't build anywhere near the pressure of a regular .12 guage shell. The problem is that the flare can damage the barrell on the way out. A regular shell is shooting lead wrapped in plastic. A flare is burning phosphorus that could feasible damage the barrell.
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Old 07-14-2005, 12:10 PM
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Default RE: Flare Guns vs. Handheld Flares

Think Tweiss - 7/13/2005 4:06 PM
You are not required to have a flare gun on board anywhere...you are only required to have three cg approved flares with current dates.
In truth, I believe even this is a step too far. You are required to carry a visual distress signal.

During daylight, this can be a distress flag or ball, or a can of smoke.

At night flares are normal, but I believe a light capable of an automatic Morse Code SOS signal is acceptable (if certified as approved. That said, I don't think I've ever seen one.)

Point is, you are not required to carry flares at all.

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Old 07-15-2005, 12:19 AM
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Default Re: Flare Guns vs. Handheld Flares

packfan - 7/14/2005 12:50 PM

Philyteach - 7/14/2005 11:00 AM

Hmmmmmmm....

What would happen if I tried to shoot a 12 guage flare out of my shotgun? Just curious....whould that work?!
Only one way to find out...Hey yall, watch this...
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Old 07-15-2005, 07:01 AM
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Default Re: Flare Guns vs. Handheld Flares

Yes it will work....How do you think they choose the flares in a 12 gage shell? They where first used to shot out of shotguns. Then the cheap plastic guns came out.

The flare does not light as it is passing in the barrel anyways.

A hardened steel barrel of a shotgun is a lot stronger than a plastic tube.

What do you think is going to happen? The shotguns going to blow up in your hand? It's going to catch on fire? Not!! Why do people think this is a crazy thing to do?

"Did you hear what Joe did? He put a 12 gage flare in a 12 gage shot gun...whoooo he is a crazy man!!!

If you have ever shot a 12 gage flare before you will see it is about the weakest looking/feeling gun you ever fired...not to mention the weak light that it produces, a cheap azz firework is twice as bright.

Shoot a 3 inch Mag out of a shot gun and you will laugh at the though of a flare in your shotgun.

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Old 07-15-2005, 07:09 AM
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Default Re: Flare Guns vs. Handheld Flares

If your boating habits regularly take you offshore it is foolhardy to think that the bare minimum flaregun is going to be of much use. If you value your life as much as you do your boat that you happily spend thousands on carry SOLAS approved flares. They shoot much higher. They are brighter. The hang time is far longer. They cost more than twice as much. How much is your life worth?

I've seen a demo of the 2 types side by side. Literally no comparison.
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Old 07-15-2005, 07:11 AM
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Default RE: Flare Guns vs. Handheld Flares

A few weeeks back I was getting my CC annual safty check..I was told that my flares weren`t up to snuff!.I asked why,because they have always passed in the past?The DNR officer told me that to be in the proper code I needed 3 properly dated hand held long burning flares and not the rocket type.
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Old 07-15-2005, 12:49 PM
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Default Re: Flare Guns vs. Handheld Flares

I'm tempted to put some fireworks on the boat for use in attracting attention in case of emergency. Here in the great state of New Jersey, local law enforcement is so concerend about protecting us from ourselves (personal fireworks are a BIG no-no) that I think I'd get a faster response setting off illegal fireworks than I would by setting off approved signal flares!
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Old 07-15-2005, 01:49 PM
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Default RE: Flare Guns vs. Handheld Flares

okletsfish - 7/15/2005 7:11 AM

A few weeeks back I was getting my CC annual safty check..I was told that my flares weren`t up to snuff!.I asked why,because they have always passed in the past?The DNR officer told me that to be in the proper code I needed 3 properly dated hand held long burning flares and not the rocket type.
If he is talking about Federal regulations, then he doesn't know what he is talking about. You need day signals and night signals. Some items qualify for both, such as handheld flares and meteor flares. Federal regulations do NOT specify which ones you need, as long as you have three day ones and three night ones if using pyrotehcnic flares for your VDS's. Obviously they have to be current and not beyond their expiration date.

Your dnr guy is talking out his a$$.
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Old 07-15-2005, 01:52 PM
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Default Re: Flare Guns vs. Handheld Flares

From the US coast Guard site:
"Pyrotechnic Devices

Pyrotechnic Visual Distress Signals must be Coast Guard Approved, in serviceable condition, and readily accessible.

They are marked with an expiration date. Expired signals may be carried as extra equipment, but can not be counted toward meeting the visual distress signal requirement, since they may be unreliable.
Launchers manufactured before January 1, 1981, intended for use with approved signals, are not required to be Coast Guard Approved.
If pyrotechnic devices are selected a minimum of three are required. That is, three signals for day use and three signals for night. Some pyrotechnic signals meet both day and night use requirements.
Pyrotechnic devices should be stored in a cool, dry location, if possible.
A watertight container painted red or orange and prominently marked "DISTRESS SIGNALS" or "FLARES" is recommended.
U.S.C.G. Approved Pyrotechnic Visual Distress Signals and associated devices include:

Pyrotechnic red flares, hand-held or aerial.
Pyrotechnic orange smoke, hand-held or floating.
Launchers for aerial red meteors or parachute flares. "
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Old 07-15-2005, 02:00 PM
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Default Re: Flare Guns vs. Handheld Flares

Hand held flares are cg approval # 160.021. Pistol flares are approval# 160.024
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Old 07-15-2005, 03:44 PM
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Default Re: Flare Guns vs. Handheld Flares

I tried the flare and shotgun bit last winter. The flare just barely cleared the tops of some big oaks and landed in a leaf pile. Had to get the shovel out to cover the flames.

Good for a laugh.
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Old 07-15-2005, 03:53 PM
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Default Re: Flare Guns vs. Handheld Flares

I like the aerial flares better. Keeps the boat from having burn marks in the liner of the hull made from dripping hand held ones.
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