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  Comparison to Flares?
  Posted by: mcgoughm on Jul-18-08 5:38 PM (EST)

-- Last Updated: Jul-18-08 5:43 PM EST --

I had investigated the laser signal as an alternative to flares, and couldn't make up my mind.

Signal flares are omnidirectional and have the advantage of getting the signal way up into the air (though only for a short period of time). They definately meet Coast-Guard requirements, but have to be replaced every 3 yrs, and can misfire.

It seems that with the laser you have to be fairly close and have direct lign-of-sight to the intended rescuer. If you were floating in the water with your PFD in waves of any significant height, the only thing you could reliably signal would be an aircraft. You might be able to time signals to boats from the wave crests. I'm not sure if the Coast Guard would accept the laser as an alternative to flares.

I personally don't like flares, but am not quite convinced to buy the laser.

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Messages in this Topic


  flares vs. laser
  Posted by: old_user on Jul-23-08 2:11 PM (EST)
The size of the laser is such that I would consider it an added safety/survival device. Flares work by size of flare and frequency so you'd have to carry quite a few. I think having both would be the prudent move. Flares work best, in my opinion, to draw the rescuer closer and closer.

Large, omni-directional to lead rescuer to a certain bay, slightly smaller flare to lead to a certain shoreline of the bay and finally the pencil flares or similar to lead then in to your spot on the beach or whatever.

One would have to continually manipulate the laser to keep its beam on the rescuer and drawing him/her in.
  flares "vs" laser signals
  Posted by: Wavetamer on Jun-17-09 10:40 AM (EST)
Hi, sorry it took so long to respond...I don't always review these like I should. I think a multiple system is always best so its not either/or but how to best provide yourself with both if you feel the laser is a good tool. Flares come in various sizes for a good reason, they are made to draw in the rescuer. A pen flare can hardly make it above taller trees and is very limited in distance visibility. A large parachute flare is better for initial notice. Once that is established you can lead a rescuer in via smaller and smaller flares that pinpoint your location (i.e. on this side of the bay...on this island...on this SIDE of the island...Right here!!!!).

The laser is visually effective for long distances at night but I don't know how totally reliable they are. They are certainly easy to carry, but expensive AND require batteries.

Don't forget the signal mirror, for daylight its highly effective. It would be a good tool to use with a laser for 24/sunny/cloudy signalling options.

Thanks for the comments. Safe paddling..
  Posted by: wavetamer on Jan-06-10 2:47 AM (EST)
This speaks of the need to have more than one signaling device, based on the environment. At sea, flares could work...if they work (lots of misfires in them). How many can you carry and shoot off? Signal mirrors are great but only on sunny days. A dye marker in the water could be really effective IF they fly close enough to see the trail. With today's technology I think PLBs are the way to go, land or sea.


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