By: Bill Jennings
Did you know that on small lakes where it is not possible to be more than one mile from shore, you are not required to carry flares? Considering that flares expire just four years from the date of manufacture, not having to buy them saves you both time and money.
In my opinion, there are other good reasons not to carry traditional flares. They are not highly visible during the day, so if you want to be rescued while daylight boating, carry an orange smoke bomb. Worse –different flares have different procedures for igniting. Try reading the directions printed in mice type on the side of a flare when you are in panic mode. If you should fail to do it in the proper sequence, they will drop scalding fluid all over your forearm. And when it comes to legally disposing of flares that have passed their expiry date, it is easier to find a home for an un-neutered skunk.
Of course, a cautious boater will always carry at least one cell phone and a strong flashlight, even when boating close to shore (you should also have a proper marine safety kit). And, if you plan on trailering your boat to other areas, be aware that if it is theoretically possible to travel more than a mile from shore, flares are required.