Date: 31 August 2014. Flares Expire (my solution)
Just a couple weeks ago I was
reading a post from a fellow who was bemoaning the fact that when
the Coast Guard checked his safety equipment he failed the
inspection. What caused the problem? Expired flares. Well, that
can't easily happen aboard Seaweed, and here's why:
You see, I'm one of those who use
a perpetual calendar for many things. Mine is not just for birthdays and
anniversaries. It has notes (in pencil) at the top of each
month indicating important items for my Seaweed. For instance, this
is the top of my perpetual calendar for May:
From my notes in pencil, I know that in May
of 2014 the new water pump (pressure) was installed and that it's
got a three year warranty. This is also written on the paperwork
that came with the pump. I like things easy and am old fashioned
enough to want things on paper. Electronics aren't the same for
By using a pencil I can erase as
necessary. For an upcoming boat show, I'll note the dates and
location. Then after the event, I erase the message. Simple.
Additionally, I've specified the
month the newest set of flares will expire. Flares are certified for three
year periods, so it's a good idea when you're shopping to find a
place with a lot of product turnover. You don't want to buy flares
that expire next year.
The first thing I do when I buy
new flares is move the old ones into a bag of spares. Here's mine:
A fellow boater said I needed to
make a note that these are "For demonstration purposes only" on the
extras so I
did. I do know I'm not tossing the old ones. Someday the old ones might be
necessary to raise help. Still, I do not want them mixed with the
ones that are within the certified dates. Those I leave in the
packaging from Orion.
You might also spot the little
date I've taped to the top of my orange canister. When I dust it,
I'm reminded when they expire. That too is a visual reminder and
helps keep me current on my safety equipment.
Living aboard full time, some of
the "little things" tend to slip by our consciousness. Don't let
your flares be your undoing.
September 2014: In this anecdote I mentioned my Perpetual
Calendar, and have since had a phone call from a guy who had
never heard of one. It is simply a date book where you ignore
the days of the week and keep using the same one year after
Yes, as a matter of fact I am rather good
at stretching a dollar. And no, I don't usually know what day
it is. That's part of this whole retirement thing and I can't
see a problem myself. Except when I miss fun stuff because I
don't know what day it is.
My perpetual calendar book has two pages
for each month but after so many years and additions to the
dates, I'm considering going over to one of the Days-of-the-Year
hardcover books. Found at the office supply stores, they have a
single page for each day.
I need more room. At first yours will
be sparse but eventually you'll be surprised how many good
things there are to look back upon.
How do you know when your flares are due to be replaced?
What do you do with your expired flares, and how many do you have onboard?
© 2014, 2020
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