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 Windsong Dockbox: Windsong Dockbox - February

Windsong Dockbox

By Capt. Bruce & Capt. Wendy Longman

This month we are going all out on flares. In conjunction with the US Coast Guard and Pasco County Sherriff's Marine Patrol, The Boater's Corner is offering a FREE flare demonstration and instruction seminar at the North Anclote Sandbar on Sunday, February 16, 2014 at 11 AM.


If you have your own boat, meet us at the North Sandbar at 11 AM. If you don't have a boat, Windsong Charters & Boat Rentals are offering a FREE RIDE to the Sandbar departing from Leverock's Restaurant Marina at 10 AM.

If you would like a free ride to attend the demonstration, you MUST sign up for it at www.WindsongCharters.com/flare - complete the form in order to reserve a seat on one of their boats.

Learning how to use pyrotechnics is extremely paramount. Knowing how to ignite them, seeing how they burn, and how the slag drops is important information. Pyrotechnics are dangerous! Another very good reason to attend our FREE flare instruction and demonstration.

If you have never ignited a flare before then this is a must for you to attend. If you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation you will need the knowledge and confidence to ignite the flare safely. Igniting pyrotechnics while panicking might not present a good outcome.

Old Expired Flares

Bring them with you so you can practice. Windsong will also be providing a limited number of expired flares.

According to Coast Guard regulations the shelf life for pyrotechnic devices is three (3) years from manufacture. It is also suggested that you keep the

"just" expired flares, smokes and meteors on board. While they don't meet the federal requirements, in all likelihood they probably still work. If you keep rotating your new flares with your "just" expired flares, that means when your new flares expire, your old flares will have been onboard for six years.

The federal minimum standard requires three flares on a boat. Should you ever need to ignite them, you'll find that a single flare's life isn't very long. Should you fire off your flare at an inopportune moment, you've wasted what is probably 33% of your chances of being located by a passing boat or plane - if you've decided to only meet the minimum federal standards of three flares. A very sobering thought!

If you keep your older (just expired) flares on the boat, attempt to light these off first. Then, if they do work, you've doubled your chance of being rescued. If they don't work, well nothing ventured is nothing gained.

Types of Flares

Distress flares come in different types.

Handheld distress flares are just that. They are designed to be used on the deck of a boat when the coastline, an aircraft or another boat would be able to see the flare and provide assistance.

Flare guns are used to shoot distress flares higher into the air, much like a firework to increase the chances of them being seen from further away.

Parachute Flares have a parachute attached to them that allows the flare to drift to the ground and be seen for over a minute.

Effective ranges of flares in conditions of good visibility at night:

Parachute/gun flare – 25 to 35 nautical miles.

Hand flare – 5 to 10 nautical miles.

Flares should always be kept in a readily accessible location in an appropriate moisture-proof container. Never throw them in the bottom of a locker or under the v-berth. Not only will you be creating a fire hazard, but they’ll also absorb moisture, rendering those flares useless when you most need them.

If you have expired flares you wish to donate for this demonstration, please contact Capt. Wendy at 727.859.0213 or email her at: wendy@windsongcharters.com. She will happily pick them up.

Don’t forget, email your questions to bruce@windsongcharters.com.

Happy Boating!

Posted On Thursday, January 9, 2014

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