North Wales Kayak Fishing

Mega lasers for signalling

This review is my own opinions and findings .
There is quite a debate going on at the moment as to the use of lasers to replace pyrotechnic flares there are pros and cons for both items the advantage a laser has are.
Longer shelf life (no expiry date)
Maintenance free
Smaller and easier to carry
Can be seen from greater distances
No explosion danger
No fire risk
 
The advantages pyrotechnic flares have are.
Universally recognised as a distress beacon.

Both have also disadvantages
With the laser .
Not yet recognised as distress signal .

Pyrotechnic flare.
Short shelf life (2/3 years)
Fire risk
Quite bulky so difficult to store.
Only last a few seconds

In my investigation in to lasers I have tried to show that they have every potential to be recognised as a distress beacon without the dangers and cheaper to buy and maintain in the long run

Firstly can I thank Paul from megagreen http://www.megagreen.co.uk/index.asp who has helped me along the way with both advice and supplying the lasers I have tested out all on loan to me for this review

Firstly the test equipment we have for this review 5 of the best lasers available for our tests they are all waterproof versions with re-chargable batterys we used a small wooden rack to make comparisons between different laser strengths and some special safety goggles as I would be using these lasers for quite a while during the tests and photographing


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As you can see in the rack are 5 lasers from left to right they are powers.
10mW.    50mW.    100mW.    150Mw.    200mW

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The particular lasers we used are high power and come encased in a rugged waterproof housing which I found very easy to use
it is very important to note that all lasers sold in the uk must by law have the power rating on the white sticker you can see in the photograph

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the orange button you can see at the back of each laser is the on off button these differs from the cheap laser pointers in that they have a positive on off switch so they can be switched on while being used this is a real advantage because you don’t have to keep a small button depressed to make the lasers work you just switch it on and it stays on till you switch it off again

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The first test is simply to show you all 5 lasers switched on and pointing at the sky
Note the different thickness of the beams and the difference between the red and green the green is clearly the way to go

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A shot directly up in to the sky this would clearly be seen by any rescuers
Looking for you the beams seam to go on for ever note the lower wider flares on the beams this was picking up a light mist which was present during the photograph

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During the photographs no editing took place to any of the photos and no colour enhancements were done to any of them either.
you can clearly see that lasers are the way to go for us in the future I think the only disadvantage would be getting the public to recognise them as a distress signal but they are certainly very visible and would make you more visible in a search and rescue situation during my tests I could see the lasers clearly from over a mile from my home the green being the most visible by far I would think the 50mW green would be the ideal power ratting for us.
 the lasers are very powerful that we have used in fact I also used them to burst balloons just by pointing the 100mW green at them but as a serious rescue aid I would not be without one now.
With a flare it lasts just a few seconds and its gone if nobody is looking at the time you fire it it’s not helped you at all but with a laser you would get many hours of continuous use of the beacon to try to attract someone’s attention which gives you a better chance of rescue
Once again a massive thanks to Paul from http://www.megagreen.co.uk/index.asp for all his help
just to add a quick note the lasers were also very visable in daylight it was just easyer to photograph them in the dark