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Flare gun v Flare signal


Nailer

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For the past 3 years I have carried both a flare gun, and a package of Flare Signals. Prior to last nights talk by Dave mull, I had never given it much thought, other than to be legal.

So now both of my signal kits have expired this year, and need replacing.

What I am debating is wether to replace both, Just the flares, or just the flare gun.

Does anyone have an opinion here?

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I alternate replace one then replace the other unless you have a ditch bag odds are you will only grab one a flare gun has further visibility however hand held flares mark where you are at. With the range you can see a aerial flare at night even though someone will see it they could still be many miles away.

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I am not positive, but I seem to remember that flare guns are not legal for use or to carry into Canadian waters. I got the gun in an Olin kit along with the handhelds and I do like Jim/1Maniac and alternate which ones get replaced. 1 out of every 3 years or so i don't have to replace either.

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Ryan is also correct on the fact some areas consider them weapons. I was told by a friend of mine that he can't have one on his boat even with a carry permit because it is considered a weapon. Pretty bad when one of the most effective flares is not legal in some areas. Canada treats them the same as a pistol.

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On charter boats here in Michigan....DNR officers doing dockside inspections told us that flare guns were not approved on our boats. They said that children could open the flare gun box and accidentally shoot one off while on the boat.

There's some logic to that ...as I've had kids get into about everything and anything on the boat during a charter while parents sit there and just let it go on...

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I am not a charter boat, and likely will not be in Canada, so it makes sense to replace the cartridges for the gun, and keep the expired hand held's aboard. I did light one of the hand held flares (3 expired spares left) here in my yard, and it worked flawlessly.

I like the option of being able to shoot a flare into the air, rather than just the sea/ground level flare.

Thanks for the opinions.

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Eric and Jim are quite right about the 12ga. flare gun. They are totally illegal in Michigan too, not to own, but to present to USCG on boat for usage, check with the USCG. As for hand held flares, they do need to be aboard, and have a current date on them. They are less than $20 for a 3-pack, and yes, it's not illegal to have spare ones that have expired, just in case. But, make sure you do have current dated hand helds. As for the gun once again, I still carry one for backup, and it's in a secret compartment that only I have access to, just in case we run out of hand held, or it's real foggy, or after dark possibilities. Be safe all, you never know when they could save your life, and boat.

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I like the idea of having a the gun for visibility off shore...we get pretty far out some trips. I also thought about other visibility items after Dave's talk - like glow sticks. I know they are not coast guard approved, but I think I am going to put some in the pockets of each of my life jackets. They are certainly waterproof and would be easy to use once floating in the water.

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I have another question. I have 3 sets of expired flares, i keep one as a backup on the boat and have the others on a shelf in the garage. Are they still safe to have around after the exp. date? Is there a place they should be taken to be disposed of?

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I keep my expired flares in the boat. Might have to test fire the oldest ones off at home to check them. If they work, I'll keep them in the boat. I figure having the old ones as extras might be real helpful if I ever need them.

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i think the glow sticks in the life jackets is a great idea. for sure if you do any night boating. which i have went out many mornings before light and came back in after dark.

i did not know flare guns were not legal in mich waters. i have one of the old orion kits that came with the gun and handheld flares. i replace the shells and the flares when needed and keep the last ones for spares. i also have some very old metal hand launched flares i keep in my kit. they dont have an expire date on them that i can find and they work really well.

i think the gun is something you want when you see another boat off in the distance and then use the hand held ones for when they get closer. i will keep both onboard my boat untill i get a ticket for having them. my safety and the safety of my crew is more important than the few $$ it takes to replace them. you can replace the shells and the flares for around 60.00 or 70.00. i spend almost that much on night crawlers for a 2 week trip to erie each year. i think i pay right at 50.00 for 500 crawlers on line at canadiannightcrawlers.com.

sherman

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Everyone check your flare dates. That's one thing I need to do next time I crawl aboard Priority1. I usually buy a pack of the 12ga flares. I have a lot of expired hand held and 12ga flares in the boat. Maybe next time I'll update the hand held ones. If anyone has an over abundance of expired flares donate them to the CG. They use them for demonstrations and training.

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I thought the MDNR was the ones stating 12g guns were not legal on charter boats. They certainly are allowed by the WDNR and USCG in Wisconsin. I can not see the USCG making different regulations for separate states.

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Eric and Jim are quite right about the 12ga. flare gun. They are totally illegal in Michigan too, not to own, but to present to USCG on boat for usage, check with the USCG. As for hand held flares, they do need to be aboard, and have a current date on them. They are less than $20 for a 3-pack, and yes, it's not illegal to have spare ones that have expired, just in case. But, make sure you do have current dated hand helds. As for the gun once again, I still carry one for backup, and it's in a secret compartment that only I have access to, just in case we run out of hand held, or it's real foggy, or after dark possibilities. Be safe all, you never know when they could save your life, and boat.

After reading this, I sent The question of a flare gun being legal on the great lake to the Coast Guard.

This is the response I got from them,

" Thank you for contacting the USCG Navigation Center. A flare gun is legal for boaters to carry on the Great Lakes as an emergency or distress signaling device only. A flare sighting will initiate search and rescue (SAR) operations. Other handheld devices, including a strobe light, a chemical light, or a signal mirror, are also recommended emergency and distress signaling devices to carry onboard."

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I am not positive, but I seem to remember that flare guns are not legal for use or to carry into Canadian waters. I got the gun in an Olin kit along with the handhelds and I do like Jim/1Maniac and alternate which ones get replaced. 1 out of every 3 years or so i don't have to replace either.

I am going to have to look into that one. I am Canadian and bought a flare gun in Canada at my local marine shop and carry them on my boat.

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I thought the MDNR was the ones stating 12g guns were not legal on charter boats. They certainly are allowed by the WDNR and USCG in Wisconsin. I can not see the USCG making different regulations for separate states.

To my understanding you are correct however from my past experience as a Coast Guard Boarding officer we enforced the local rules as well as the federal laws. Also I am not a commercial vessel so the rules are different for me than other boats. My uncle is a 100 ton captain in AK he is required to declare what he is doing before he leaves port since the rules he fishes under change based on what he is doing. IE if he is commercial fishing he operates under one set of rules for the entire trip the rules for Subsistence fishing are different as are the rules for Sport fishing.

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There seems to be some mis-information or lack of clarity here. While flare guns are illegal for charter boats under DNR Administrative Rule 281.3121 (see #4), they are not illegal for recreational boaters. The DNR Rule cited above is only applicable to vessels carrying passengers "for hire", such as a charter boat.

The MI boating safety course addresses them (as being a CG approved device). If there was an issue with MI law, this would also be addressed but it is not. Furthermore, MCL 750.231c specifically allows flare guns to be carried on vessels under sub-section 4b. :thumb:

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