Setting Off a Flare

Flare DemonstrationThere are three main types of flares:

Smoke Flares

These are either hand held or in canister form. The smoke flare gives off a dense orange smoke for a short period of time. It is OK if you know somebody is in close proximity and you need to attract their attention.

Be aware that these flares are not very effective in very windy conditions.

Incandescent Flares

These are hand held flares. The incandescent flare gives off a very bright light for a short period of time. It is OK if you know somebody is in close proximity and you need to attract their attention.

Be aware that these flares are much more effective in the night time.

Caution: This type of flare works by burning magnesium. It will get VERY hot and can burn a hole right through a fibre glass or aluminium boat. As well, looking directly at the flame can cause eye damage.

Parachute or Rocket Flares

Parachute FlareThese are the most effective flare for both daytime and night time. They operate by shooting a magnesium flare hundreds of meters into the air and then allowing this flare to drift down slowly by using a parachute to slow it's descent.

When firing the flare, do not point it at anybody. Point it into the wind on an angle of about 80 degrees and then set it off. If it fails to ignite, dispose of it overboard.

How to set off a Flare

There are many types of flares on the market. Make sure you familiarise yourself with the instructions that come with your flares. If you are not sure, ask somebody to help you.

Flare Lesson

Storage

Flares should be kept in a clearly labelled waterproof container and located in a place such that if your vessel was to suddenly sink, the flares will float to the surface and not be trapped within the vessel.