Kayaking - General > Kayaking - General

Purchased a safety update today...

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I'd noticed a few months back that my waterproof hand-held flares had expired in late '09, so I bought a new packet today - they were like $15 back in '07 or so, and today they were $40!...  Oh well, nice to have that piece of gear in my drybag, and they don't expire until December 2013.   :)

FWIW ....  one of the companies I used to guide for had a yearly flare training at a local Coast Guard station.

We tried to sample a large array of the commercially available “kayak size” flares ..... unfortunately the results were extremely disappointing. The brand new flares had about a 80% success rate, but any that had been schlepped around in dry bags for few months had a less than 50% chance of working. We had much better success with the larger sized flares with almost 100% with new and 75% or so with those that were well travelled.

I still think they are a good piece of safety equipment ... but you either need to carry a bunch of them or have them as overlap with other signaling devices. The CG highly recommended a cylume sticks on string swung in big circles as one of the smallest and most visible signs for the helicopter to see.

Maybe you could bring your old ones to GS5 for a test ? .... the CG is usually OK with test shots as long as you call and give them a heads up

Thanks for the info, Topher.  I got a package with 4 flares, so hopefully I get at least a 25% functional response if I ever need them!

I blew it on the old ones - I asked the guys at Englund's to dispose of them for me as I pictured myself slamming too many brews and shooting one off w/o calling the CG first!   ;D

Swinging a cylume on a string...  That gave me a "flashback" to a Grateful Dead Chinese New Year show in Oakland back in '89 or so...   8)

I was considering getting some flares as well.  Great tips.  How do the stick flares compare to the gun flares?  The light stick is a great idea.  I may have to pick some up to keep in my ditch bag or PFD.

I did get a nice C-Strobe for my PFD, that thing is amazingly bright!  I had a white "safety" light for the PFD before, and it was junk.  It barely made a good flashlight  :-\  I may get a small signal mirror for day time signaling as well.  It isn't just night time when we may need a rescue.

I also just picked up a bike flag to put on my kayak light pole.  I noticed with the swell, it is easy to loose sight of the kayaks.  The flag seems to stand out pretty well.  I just hope I don't get my rods tangled on it!


That is for sure one of the items that I need to toss in the bag. Now i have light sticks with some string and a mirror and spare whistle and a few other items.

Flares our a good backup for sure. Just hope they our never needed.


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