Flares to light up night sky

Often talked about, seldom seen and sometimes mistaken for odd aerial phenomena, distress flares are going to be let off in a couple of weeks so people know what they look like.

Tauranga Volunteer Coastguard is organising a demonstration for Saturday, September 17, and is planning three demonstration sites where flares will be set off; in front of the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club, on board a Coastguard vessel a nautical mile or 1.85km offshore from Moturikti Island and from a coastguard boat a nautical mile off the beach from the Papamoa campground.


This is a hand held flare. The demonstation on Saturday, September 17, will see parachute flares fired 300 metres above the ocean.  

“The purpose of this event is to educate the public on how distress flares look and behave when they are deployed, and how to deploy them,” says Coastguard operations manager Simon Barker.

Firing the flares will be spread over a period of time as twilight approaches.

Each Coastguard boat will deploy three parachute flares, one each at 6.30pm, 7pm and 7.15pm.

“This will cover the time as darkness approaches, while still enabling video footage to be shot for use for educational purposes going forward,” says Simon.

There will also be four parachute flares deployed from in front of the Tauranga Yacht and Powerboat Club, two at 6.35pm, and two at 7.05pm.

As part of the presentation, a number of orange smoke flares and red hand held signalling flares will also be set off in front of the yacht club.

A presenter will discuss the use of flare, safe keeping practices, replacement of flares upon expiry, and how to deploy them safely.

All video footage taken will be cut together to make an educational video product. This video will be placed on You Tube, and will have no copyright, so will be available for any party to use for the purpose of education.

The event will be co-sponsored by Tauranga Coastguard, NZ Police (Tauranga) and the Bay of Plenty Harbourmaster.

Before any of the parachute flares are fired the organizer will be in contact with Plenty Maritime Radio on Ch16, so that they and any other commercial operations in the area will be aware of the flares as they happen.

In the event of any changes or cancellation of the demonstration, notice will be given via SunLive or the Tauranga Volunteer Coastguard Facebook page.  


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