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Picture this scenario…

You are going out on your boat or yacht and decide to take your young child with you.  Let’s say he/she is about 6 years old.  Everything is going well, as it always does.  The weather is super nice, ideal for a beautiful day out on the water.  You have packed more than enough supplies and toys to keep junior entertained in the off chance he/she gets bored.  Highly unlikely. You have all the required USCG safety equipment, including your unexpired pyrotechnic flares. Everything is looking really good!

White and Black Sailboat During Sunset

Photo by Markos Mant on Unsplash

Things are going well while you are out.  You reach your destination and have a day full of laughter, fun and great new memories.  It’s time to head back home and all is still going well until…suddenly something happens.  It may be a medical emergency putting you out of commission, or maybe a problem with your boat that requires your full and immediate attention.  But you need help, and darn it all, your radio is not working or you didn’t teach junior how to use it (I know, unlikely, but work with me here).  You’ve gone out countless times with no issues.  Nothing EVER happens…until now.

 

 

Quick note: according the USCG Aux of Jackson website “Operator inattention, operator inexperience, improper lookout, machinery failure, and excessive speed rank as the top five primary contributing factors in boating accidents.”

What do you do?  It’s getting dark, how can you signal for help?  You do have your pyrotechnic flares, but before you ask junior to grab them and light one consider these facts:

Inforgraphic About Dangers of Pyrotechnic Flares

Share this with your friends. They may thank you for it!

  • Pyrotechnic flares can burn as high as 2,900°F (that’s about 1593°C) according to Scuttlebutt Sailing News website
  • They usually have perchlorates which are considered a health hazard (possible carcinogen), as well as contaminate groundwater (Scuttlebutt Sailing News website)
  • According to the USCG Auxiliary of Annapolis website, expired pyrotechnic flares are regarded as “explosive hazardous waste
  • The USCG says that these types of flares should not be disposed of in conventional ways (trashcan, big no-no) but should possibly (even they aren’t sure) be brought to a place that “handles ammunition or fireworks”

I don’t know if most people catch on that holding this type of flare is akin to holding a firework in your hand while you wait for help to come.  Most people when they set off fireworks, light them and run.  In fact, the other word for fireworks is “pyrotechnics”, so why would you hold an object that is made of similar material in your hand, let alone let your young child or an inexperienced loved one hold it? I wouldn’t, would you?

So, what’s the alternative?  I mean, a nighttime visual distress signal is a safety requirement according to the USCG. In case all else fails on your vessel, you need a way to signal for help. What you may not know, is that the USCG has actually approved the use of certain types of electronic LED flares.

That’s right!  A battery-operated, totally non-explosive, child-safe, family-friendly, nighttime visual distress signal option for your vessel.  And the best thing is that you don’t have to replace it every 3 years.  Just check and change the batteries on a regular basis.

Electronic LED Flares From Sirius Signal

USCG approved alternative to pyrotechnic flares

Quick note: did you know most pyrotechnic flares only burn a minute or so?  Our electronic LED flares, stay on for 6 hours or more at full intensity, all the while flashing the S.O.S. pattern!

Children Holding Up a C-1003 Electronic Flare

A kid-safe, family-friendly electronic flare

The electronic flare is so safe in fact, that the little hands holding it in this picture are of my two young children, aged 5 and 6.  I have full confidence that in the event of an emergency I could safely hand one of these devices to my babies and ask them to hold it up until help comes. They could even take turns holding it because the light stays on for so long (battery life permitting).

So, what did you decide? Is the safety of your family while on the water enough of an incentive to put one of these USCG approved electronic LED flares on your boat or yacht? Is the ability to know that no matter what the emergency is, your ability to hand a safe alternative to what is equivalent to a firework to your child or loved one can determine the success of your being rescued in the event of your incapacity?

I hope you decide in favor of giving the electronic flare a try.  It could save your lives, without the added hazards.