Coast Guard reminds boaters not to use flares as fireworks

A signal flare burns bright enough to light up the shores during a flare training exercise held at Coast Guard Station Rio Vista U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Levi Read.

A signal flare burns bright enough to light up the shores during a flare training exercise held at Coast Guard Station Rio Vista. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Levi Read.

JUNEAU, Alaska – The Coast Guard reminds boaters not to use flares as fireworks during this year’s Fourth of July celebrations, and to report accidental flare discharges.

Flares should only be fired to indicate distress in an emergency situation. Flares can be life-saving equipment and should be used if there is distress and assistance is needed.

Each year the Coast Guard responds to thousands of reports of flare sightings, costing taxpayers millions of dollars in personnel and equipment costs.

If a flare is inadvertently discharged, report it to the Coast Guard via VHF radio or phone to prevent unnecessary search and rescue efforts, and to keep valuable search and rescue resources available for mariners in actual distress.

One of the alternatives to traditional flares to consider using are electronic flares. E-flares are battery-powered, can be visible for up to 10 nautical miles, and flash an SOS signal for up to 60 hours.

“When we see or get a report of a flare, the Coast Guard is launching boats and aircraft to respond,” said Capt. Mike Frawley, incident management chief, 17th Coast Guard District,. “If a flare is inadvertently discharged, letting the Coast Guard know is the absolute right course of action.”


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