Light shone on flare use

Broome Advertiser - - News - BROOME BEAT Sergeant Kevin Hall

Flares have a very se­ri­ous purpose and there are se­vere penal­ties for im­proper use.

Do not leave flares in your boat when it is not in use, and keep them away from chil­dren be­cause they can be a dan­ger.

Dis­tress flares have two dis­tinct pur­poses: to at­tract at­ten­tion over long dis­tances and to pin­point the lo­ca­tion of the ves­sel in trou­ble.

The use of dis­tress flares in­di­cates there is a grave and im­mi­nent dan­ger to life or a ves­sel.

Hand­held red: This type of flare is hand­held, gives off white/grey smoke and is vis­i­ble up to about three miles in day­light or at night. They are ideal for in­shore uses and should only be used if you are within sight of land, a boat or a plane. If you can­not see them, then a para­chute flare might be the best choice.

Hand­held flares should be re­stricted un­til a res­cue craft or plane is sighted.

Orange smoke: Th­ese may be hand­held or float­ing, have a range of one to three miles and are very ef­fec­tive in day­light. Once a po­ten­tial res­cuer is iden­ti­fied, the flare is best used to mark your po­si­tion and to show the wind di­rec­tion as in the use of he­li­copter res­cues.

The smoke can dis­perse quickly, so try to fire a smoke flare in a shel­tered area.

If it is op­er­ated from the down­wind side of the ves­sel, the smoke may tend to cling to the boat be­cause of the tur­bu­lent air flow around the ves­sel. If it is safe to do so, choose an el­e­vated po­si­tion to ac­ti­vate a hand­held flare.

Red para­chute: Th­ese are in ef­fect small but powerful rock­ets, in­tended for off­shore use, day or night. Flares can rise to around 300m be­fore drift­ing down with a bright red light on a para­chute, leav­ing be­hind a clear smoke trail that can be seen over con­sid­er­able dis­tances.

Be­cause of the height th­ese flares can reach, they can be seen up to about 40km away if the weather is clear enough.

Para­chute flares should be fired around 10-15 de­grees down­wind of the ver­ti­cal for them to reach op­ti­mum height.

For safety, they should be fired clear of any en­closed spa­ces such as a wheel­house.

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