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Man spots something burning in sky near Spanish Banks in Vancouver (VIDEO)

"I saw the thing high up in the sky and it was burning up," he said.
A Vancouver man is sharing a video of a boat flare he saw burning in the sky near Spanish Banks over the weekend on January 16, 2022.

A Vancouver man is sharing a video of a boat flare he saw burning in the sky near Spanish Banks over the weekend. 

Joey Stamp was at the popular beach with his metal detector on Sunday (Jan.16) and noticed something burning in the sky around 4 p.m. when he was walking back to his car.

"I saw the thing high up in the sky and it was burning up," he tells Vancouver Is Awesome. "I watched it for a second before getting my phone out and recording the rest of it until it disappeared."

Stamp has seen things like this before but didn’t know what it is was at first, which is why he shared the video on social media. 

The flare that Stamp spotted was part of a planned training exercise held at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, Communications Manager Sigrid Bernhoerster told V.I.A. in a phone interview. The Vic-Maui International Yacht Race organized a two-day Offshore Personal Survival Course that was held from 10:15 a.m. to 7:30 pm. on Jan. 15 and Jan. 16.

The survival course is for experienced sailors who are participating in offshore and oceanic races and passages, according to Vic-Maui. Topics the course covers include everything from personal safety equipment to man overboard, emergency communications and signals to hypothermia and cold water immersion, and much more. 

Co-hosted by the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and the Lahaina Yacht Club, the Vic-Maui International Yacht Race departs from Victoria and sails to Maui, Hawaii and is expected to commence between July 2-8, 2022. The survival course prepares experienced sailors for the ambitious, approximately two-week-long yacht race and others like it.

"It really truly is a challenge," said Bernhoerster. "A lot of work has to go in it in a practical sense. Someone is always on duty—so having daytime and nighttime shifts."

Bernhoerster adds that "living in close quarters" and not seeing land for several days take a toll on an individual psychologically. The course prepares sailors with both practical, hands-on sessions as well as a classroom component. 

Canada's Small Vessel Regulations, section 14 requires five types of safety equipment onboard all vessels, which include Life-saving appliances (such as lifejackets and liferafts), vessel safety equipment (such as bailers, paddles and anchors), distress alerting equipment (such as a flashlight, flares and a radio), a first aid kit, and fire safety equipment (such as portable extinguishers and fire detectors).

Pyrotechnic Distress Signals (Flares)

Transport Canada notes that flares can be an effective tool in an emergency. However, they must not be expired and must be clearly marked as being "Transport Canada approved." Flares expire four years from the manufacture date stamped on them.

Since they are hazardous, flares may not be thrown away. They must be disposed of as directed by the manufacturer.

Find out more information about using flares safely with Transport Canada's Marine Safety in Canada guidelines