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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 me.

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.

Addendum. 2 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 year.

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

Categories: Boat Talk, Gear, Vignettes

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