Odeo Flare LED Mk 3

Flares, which ones to carry, how many of them and where to keep them is something which has occupied the minds of sea kayakers for some. The fact that paddlers should carry some form of signalling device is not debatable but what is available. Over the last couple of weeks we have purchased a couple Odeo Flare LED Mk 3, as a replacement for the more traditional marine flares, which we have used for over 40 years.
Flares are one of those things that we all think we should have but hope we never have to use. They were always viewed as the first and often last means of attracting attention if you were unfortunate enough to find yourself in serious trouble. What I have noticed, particularly in the last 10 – 15 years, when running sea kayaking courses, are that more and more people are turning up with VHF Radios.
This could be an increasing awareness of their usefulness but also due to the fact that British Canoeing now expect leaders to carry VHF Radios as part of their normal kit.  This is for both the Moderate Water Sea Kayak Leader and the Advanced Sea Kayak Leader.  So I would suggest that most kayakers now carry a VHF as their first item of equipment for summoning outside assistance during an emergency.
What happens though once the lifeboat or helicopter is on its way?  How do you pinpoint your location?  The traditional answer has been a range of pyrotechnics, from hand held smokes to rocket flares.  There are a number of disadvantages:
1.) Cost
2.) Difficult to travel with
3.) Keeping them waterproof
4.) Potential safety issues carrying explosive devices
5.) Relatively short life.
6.) Impossible to test to see if its going to work.
A potential alternative is the Odeo Flare LED Mk3, which appears to address all of the above issues apart from number 1.  They cost over £80, which makes them more expensive than the more traditional variety of flares.  Apart from that everything else is positive.
They are easy to travel with and if necessary it is possible to remove the lithium batteries and replace them with any AA batteries.  The lithium batteries will last 10 years and it is recommended that they are tested at least twice a year, something which it is not possible do with traditional flares.
It is designed to last for 5 hours and visible from all directions simultaneously.
So what are the final thoughts?  I am really pleased with my purchase, I feel pretty confident in their use, I know that mine works (as I have tested it several times since it arrived, mainly whilst showing other kayakers) and I will be taking it with me in a couple of weeks time, on my next overseas trip.
So if you are in the market for a new flare or looking for something different then the Odeo Flare LED Mk3 is well worth considering.

Odeo Flare LED Mk3
Robust looking and ready for use. Ofeo Flare LED Mk3
Odeo Flare LED Mk3
Simple to use and easy to check whether it will work without alerting the Coast Guard.