As I was leaving the boat around 1630, having completed my chores for the day, I gathered my gear and prepared to get off onto the dock. I stepped out the shrink wrap door, I put my right foot on a boarding step, and my knee promptly gave way. My left leg was still on deck but was tangled up in the shrink wrap zipper that was inside the door. I fell backwards with my head in the water between the boat and the dock. Try as I might, I could not pull myself back up onto the boat. My left foot was at deck level. The water was cold!!
Whether you call them flares, or visual distress signals (VDS), or pyrotechnics, some visual form of getting attention from boaters or rescue agencies has been a mainstay of the Federal Recreational Boat Equipment requirements for decades. And during that time, boaters have cursed the negative attributes of these devices: their need to be replaced every 3 ½ years; the difficulty of disposing of them; their potential risk to health when in use; and their relative ineffectiveness due to short durations and poor water resistance.