|Boaters: A Reason to Check Your Signal Flares
ALEXANDRIA, Va., January 26, 2010 - Out of sight, out of mind? Unfortunately for a lot of recreational boaters, that's the reality when it comes to handheld signal flares. Stored aboard in some dark corner of the boat, most boaters don't think twice about their condition until they really need them. However, a feature in the latest issue of Boat Owners Association of The United States' Seaworthy Magazine reveals that failing to periodically inspect flares could have serious consequences.
This past summer a BoatU.S. employee opened a sealed orange storage canister that was located in his own 34-foot sailboat's cabin and found that three handheld flares inside were ruined. Long cracks along their length had developed, and the flare's combustive ingredients were exposed and spilling out, rendering them useless. There were no signs of moisture inside or outside the canister. In an unexplained twist, three flares with older manufacturing dates -- stored in the same sealed orange canister - were found undamaged.
BoatU.S. first learned of this issue three years ago when a BoatU.S. member in Washington State reported a similar problem. In that case an O-ring sealed the flare container tightly, along with a band of duct tape in an attempt to further prevent any moisture from entering, yet three unexpired flares inside were destroyed.
"Most boaters know that emergency signal flares have expiration dates," said BoatU.S. Seaworthy editor Bob Adriance. "However, these two puzzling stories tell us that it's also best to check your flares a few times a season. I would also add flare guns to the list, too," he added.
The BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety also offers a full report with real-world tests of aerial, smoke, and handheld flares at www.BoatUS.com/Foundation/Findings/Findings45 . To view video footage of the tests, go to http://www.BoatUS.com/Foundation/Findings/findings45/videos.asp .
ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 28, 2009 - Historically, whenever a hurricane comes ashore along the Gulf or Atlantic coasts that's where the most damage is found. But even though a tropical storm system weakens significantly as it moves over land, it will often continue to carry a significant punch over a wide area inland -- possibly hundreds of miles from landfall. With the start of the 2009 hurricane season June 1, BoatU.S. says inland boat owners should take these storms seriously and make preparations, even though the system may no longer be classified as a hurricane.
"Hurricane Ike, which ravaged the Texas coast last year, is a good example," said BoatU.S. Marine Insurance Technical Director Bob Adriance. "Though it was officially downgraded to a tropical depression soon after coming ashore, a combination of unrelenting wind and heavy rain continued to damage boats all the way up into Canada. One-fourth of the Ike claims filed with BoatU.S. Marine Insurance came from outside Texas -- including states such as Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. As they move inland, these storm systems have been known to dangerously swell creeks and rivers, sweeping entire marinas downriver," added Adriance.
Here are some tips from BoatU.S. to help inland boaters prepare for this 2009 hurricane season which continues through November 30:
1. Know the storm-worthiness of your marina, and be prepared to respond by removing your boat to high ground. Some marinas and private slips or docks on rivers are vulnerable to flash flooding. While freshwater lakes do not have a problem with wind-driven storm surge, rains can quickly raise lake levels and those dockage facilities in exposed locations can also get hit hard by wind and wave action.
2. Boats in the water at a marina or private dock should have extra lines with chafe protection added. Fenders and fender boards may also help.
3. Clear cockpit scuppers (deck drains) of any debris so rainwater will drain freely. Make sure your batteries are fully charged and your bilge pump is operating properly.
4. Remove "windage" items like cockpit biminis, dodgers and sails. These items are easily damaged in high winds. They also add undue strain to mooring or dock lines. If your boat is in a covered slip, lower and secure antennae and outriggers.
5. For boats on moorings, ensure all ground tackle is in top condition and chafe protection is added to prevent a breakaway.
Boaters can get some free hurricane preparation help, including a hurricane preparation worksheet, an in-depth Guide to Preparing Boats and Marinas for Hurricanes, and checklists for what to do before and after a hurricane strikes, go to the BoatU.S. "Hurricane Resource Center" at http://www.BoatUS.com/Hurricanes. The web site also helps boaters monitor incoming storms with up-to-the-minute storm tracking tools with live satellite imagery.
May 18, 2009
Comment Period Extended to July 20
EPA has extended the comment period for E15 to July 20. Please take the time now to email EPA, if you haven’t already, asking them to test E15 before allowing it for use.
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