Have you checked your flare gun lately? An alert in the July 2003 edition of
BoatU.S. Seaworthy magazine warns some plastic flare guns manufactured by Orion
Safety Products (formerly Olin) are unable to be opened wide enough to accept a
flare cartridge, rendering them useless in an emergency. The problem occurs when
the nylon material used to keep the breech closed deforms, effectively jamming
the mechanism and preventing it from opening.
All Olin plastic flare guns as well as Orion units manufactured prior to 2000
(the year an engineering fix was implemented) are suspect. Although no official
recall has been issued, a company spokesman says Orion has acknowledged the
problem and will replace any defective units. They recommend checking the gun at
the start of each boating season and returning any defective units to the
following address for replacement: Orion Safety Products, Marine Division, 3157
N. 500 West, Peru, IN 46970.