By Don Casey

Revised by BoatUS editors in April 2012

FlaresBoats over 16 feet long are required to have three day-use and three night-use distress signals aboard. Flares are the usual choice, satisfying both day and night requirements. Check the expiration date on your flares and replace any that have expired, but do not discard the old ones. In a real emergency, the more flares you have aboard, the greater your ability to signal your need for assistance. Keep flares in a moistureproof container and most will perform normally for many years beyond the 42-month life dictated by the Coast Guard regulation.

Don Casey has been one of the most consulted experts on boat care and upgrades for 30 years, and is one of the BoatUS Magazine's panel of experts. He and his wife cruise aboard their 30-footer part of the year in the eastern Caribbean. His books include Don Casey's Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual, and the recently updated This Old Boat, the bible for do-it-yourself boaters.


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