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The Light Fantastic

by Norris Comer

Weems & Plath LED flareWeems + Plath SOS Light & Flag || $99.95

For well over a century, maritime distress has been associated with the pyrotechnic show of handheld and meteor flares. However, the tried and true cousins of gunpowder have their drawbacks. Pyrotechnic flares expire, are less than ideal for the environment, and even the good ones only burn for so long (seconds if we’re talking about a meteor flare). Weems & Plath seeks to change the distress signal game with the first, and to our knowledge only, electronic LED flare to comply with Coast Guard requirements for “Night Visual Distress Signals” (46 CFR 161.013), essentially meaning that it can legally replace your old-school flares aboard. The lightweight device can be handheld, tethered, or hoisted, and you just have to flip the switch to activate. It comes with a Coast Guard compliant orange distress flag that meets the legal requirement for Day Visual Distress Signal for Boats (46 CFR 160.072). Available from Fisheries Supply for $99.95, more details at fisheriessupply.com.

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