i need to get a new set of flares. i had the kind that are shaped like a cigar and fire from a chain at the bottom. tried to set off all three on new year’s eve and none of them worked. any suggestions for flares that are small enough to fit in a PFD pocket yet work?

same kind again
but now they have a collapsible tube and nylon string. The problem is having them sit around stored in wet gear. I’d suggest a zip-lock baggie and dry out after everyuse. Basically treat it the same way you’d care for a $300 VHF radio.

ACR makes a flare thats
suposed to be submersable, but LeeG is right about keeping them dry. I would recommend a small dry box since acessability is key if you need to use them. When we are inspected by the CG we are not allowed to have them in the original package since they are so hard to get into. The CG prefers you have them in a dry box. also check the experation date on the flare, could just be old.

Dry box
Picked up a lexan dry box on sale at LL Bean a number of years ago that my flaregun and a bunch of shells fit in nicely for about $10.

Everything stays nice & dry & right behind the seat.


all. i expected that the flared in my PFD wouldn’t work. but i figured the ones in my first aid kit would. oh well…

you mean they were dry all along??

one was
it’s about two years old.

1 in 2 don’t work get best, keep dry
Research shows that 1 in 2 don’t work when used. Up the odds, use the best, keep them totally dry. Don’t use past date. Ain’t no expert but I like the Pains Wessex pinpont red flares.

URL from Westmarine


I use a ziplock freezer bag
and have set off two of three year old orion starblazer flares “testing only” and had no failures.

I will say that after you have seen these pencil flares go off a time of two, you might consider parachute flares, if you are “out there” or you lead groups of folks.

I was a fan of orion starblazer flares, but due to industry consolidation, they are no longer available. They had cleaner design; no fussing with the launcher and perhaps were more moisture proof.

12 gauge flares or pencil flares will likely do you no good, unless someone is watching for you already. More of a locator tool than an alert (attention grabbing) tool but beter than nothing.

A pain-wessex parachute flare is much more impressive. Makes lots of noise at altitude, goes way up, lasts over 25 seconds

Pain wesses makes good stuff
but those seem to be locator flares, (hand held not rockets) Just keeping the newbies straight.

handheld flares

– Last Updated: Jan-06-05 4:20 PM EST –

on my expedition, i carried a 12 gauge flaregun and three shells, 1 handheld marine flare, 1 handheld arial flare, and red dye pack, and VHF/weather radio....

IMO the 12 gauge was mostly for defense, the handhelds/dye pack were my attention getters...

in 9 months living out of my canoe and over 5000 river miles i never needed to use any of the flares..... i did try to call in a ridgetop lightning strike fire but that wound up being a waste of batteries. ( transmitting at 5 watts will suck your batteries dead in no-time)

not looking for handheld
i need the rockets.

Flares on Boat or on Person
I keep my flares in my PFD pocket should I become separated from the boat and the need the flare.

I also carry in my cockpit a parachute flare.

Whatdayaneed Inwhatconditons to be seen
Like Wayne Horodowich say in his Capsize rescue and recovery DVD series, he demonstrates how invisable we are even with flares under most conditions during day time and how only some flares work well even at night.

His respectful idea is for each of us to raise our awareness regarding use of all distress methods and ask ourselves what will it really take to be seen and to get help in a variety of conditions, and to be realistic about each set of circumstances.

Flares may be worthwhile but know what they can and can not do and why.

Not knowing

– Last Updated: Jan-06-05 11:34 PM EST –

what, where or who, if anybody, you contacted on New Year's Eve before your launch attempt, I'm going to throw this to anyone for future reference. Contrary to popular belief, it is not okay to launch flares if you're not in distress, even inland as it signals a distressed hiker, etc. A flare on New Year's Eve represents the same thing on that day as any other. If they are expired, you can take them to your nearest Coast Guard Station and they will either dispose of them for you or point you in the right direction.

My radio…

– Last Updated: Jan-07-05 10:58 AM EST –

...is attached to my PFD and I would never think of keeping in a baggie. I keep three flares in my PFD pocket and three more in my boat. Despite getting drenched frequently, on the one occasion where I've tested them, they all worked.

A lot has to do with the design and the age of the flares. It seems that Sky Blazer has improved the sealing and performance of their flares since buying out Star Tracer (who made a superior product) a year or so ago.