Mailport: February 2012
Are Flares Necessary?
The letter published in the December issue asking about used-flare disposal isn’t the first I’ve seen. More basic to me is whether we should have the requirement at all. It seems to me that with all the safety and signaling equipment available today, flares should be optional. It’s a requirement that’s long outlived its usefulness. Do we really need to force the public to create this stream of toxic waste. If more than 1 percent of flares get disposed of properly, I’d be surprised.
You make an interesting point. We hate toxic waste as much as the next guy, but in our opinion, it’s still a good idea to keep aerial flares on hand in case of an emergency. While the new signaling devices have greatly improved search-and-rescue, they are not fail safe—nor are flares. For that reason, we recommend having multiple types of signaling devices on board and in a ditch bag. To see how some signalling devices work in real-world emergencies, check out the
US Sailing Independent Study Reports at http://about.ussailing.org/US_SAILING_Meetings/USS_Reports.htm.
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