Ottawa – Gord Brown, Member of Parliament for Leeds-Grenville – Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, today introduced a Motion to the House of Commons requesting that the transport committee review the need for flares on board pleasure craft.
“Modern technology has provided alternatives for the carriage of flares on board small pleasure craft,” Brown says. “Last year for example, the United States approved a flashing electronic signal to replace flares, if boaters so choose.”
Flares, known as Pyrotechnic Devices, must be carried on board pleasure craft to signal an emergency.
“There are issues with flares that can now be overcome with technology,” he explains.
For example, flares are dangerous and they require special handling for storage and use taking the operator’s mind away from other tasks in an emergency, and they are difficult to dispose of when they expire. They are hazardous waste and an environmental contaminant requiring special disposal. Each flare dumped can contaminate 900,000 litres of water.
“Flares must be replaced four years after the date of manufacture,” he notes. “And boaters must carry anywhere from six to 12 on board.
The Electronic Flare approved by the US Coast Guard last year is battery operated and lasts for at least six hours, compared to the short duration of flares. Batteries can easily be replaced and recharged. Used with the standard orange distress flag, they are legal in the US during the day and on their own, at night. Boaters in the US can still carry flares if they choose.
“This is a much safer alternative for boaters,” explains Brown. “They just make more sense, especially for boaters in and around small lakes and inland waters like the St. Lawrence River where you can see the shore. The Motion I presented today asks the Transport committee to study the issue and make a recommendation for the replacement of flares on board pleasure craft.”