Shining bright in the MBY Cool 50 is this compact and high-performance LED electronic distress flare.
Much like boat design itself, on-board safety kit is one of the marine sectors where the MBY crew sees the most technological advances year to year.
As technology has improved, high-powered LEDs have begun to replace pyrotechnic flares and the small yet mighty OceanSignal RescueME EDF1 offers a long-lasting and safe alternative to traditional flares.
Compared with pyrotechnic flares, LEDs have a much longer operational life (red handheld flares are single-use and stay visible for around 60 seconds versus an LED unit that can be used multiple times over several hours and in different light modes), they don’t need to be disposed of in accordance to guidelines and using LEDs avoids the sometimes dangerous storage of pyrotechnics on board.
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LED flares are also significantly easier to use and avoid crew in a stressed situation with often no experience of operating pyrotechnic flares setting one off on in rough conditions on a moving boat in the pitch black. Laser flares have also been in production for many years but produce a more directional beam, which can be harder for emergency crews to spot. While LEDs are not as powerful as lasers, they are much less directional.
On test, the EDF1’s intense light proved one of the best in class. At five miles out, it was bright and easy to distinguish. It features a three light level settings; Economy, Bright and Ultra, which are operated by sliding down the cover and pressing the button. A further press activates Beam mode, which is more directional and has a 30° beam width.
An SOS mode is activated by pressing the ‘Test’ key. This makes the unit flash SOS every 20 seconds. The Li-MnO2 battery pack is user replaceable and the ‘Test’ button can be used to check battery life. Owners must only replace with batteries supplied by Ocean Signal retailers.
A compact, rugged and waterproof (to 10m) safety buddy that is a superb option to stow in your grab bag or on your liferaft when out on the water.