Whether we like it or not, all mariners are required by the Coast Guard to carry pyrotechnics on their boats when leaving the docks. We all hope we never have to reach for the stash of flares but,knowing how to properly use distress signals could save your life. Unfortunately, few of us have ever been taught how to properly use flares and are forced to learn on-the-fly when the crucial moment arises.
Because of their dangerous nature, improper use of a flare can quickly make a grim situation much worse. In this month's web extra, SAIL editor Lauren Saalmuller heads to Marble Head, Mass. to learn what it is like to handle live flares. Scroll down to view the video demonstration and look for Smoke on the Water, Fire in the Sky in the Seamanship section in the November/December 2013 edition of Passagemaker.