Boat Safety: Flare…Where?

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Recently, a couple having dinner at a seaside restaurant spotted a distress flare that had been fired off out at sea. The husband had some boating experience and made a quick call to the NSRI who responded and managed to save the crew from the stricken fishing boat.

The crew was found hanging onto the hull of the upturned fishing boat. The combination of the wind chill factor and the cold water would have soon brought on hypothermia and resulted in the deaths of the fishermen. The couple that alerted the NSRI had the foresight to give a verbal account of the estimated direction and position of the flare, which greatly assisted the search and rescue team in their recovery efforts.

Let’s take an indepth look at why it is critically important for everyone to have a basic knowledge of the different distress flares.

Understanding Angles

If you see a flare, make a mental note of the angle at which the flare is shot from your current position. This will allow the NSRI to triangulate the approximate distance to the boat in distress.

Use your fist

Make a fist and extend your arm until your baby finger is on the horizon. Now note how many fingers the flare is above the horizon at the apex of its trajectory.

Give this finger count to the authorities and they will be able to make a rough determination of the boat’s proximity from your description.


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