Much of the original thread was the legality of flare guns. The reality is flare guns are illegal in many jurisdictions. The laws vary by state and county and are very complicated. In some places they may not be illegal? But, you must have a firearm or handgun license to possess one. Unless you research the law each time your boat moves across jurisdictions you could easily find yourself in jail. In jail with very harsh minimums for possession of an illegal firearm. The State of New Jersey is very harsh and unforgiving. Those are just a few of the reasons you will almost never find a "flare gun" on a commercial vessel or any of the "commercial vessel" prepackaged kits for general signaling or distress/rescue. The next issue is performance. None, including the 25mm versions, meet the international SOLAS requirements nor the USCG offshore requirements. In any delivery to or from the BVI the sailing clearly is "offshore".. Once you sail past Anegada heading East or South you will also cross offshore passages.
-SOLAS approved parachutes are designed so that other equipment isn't necessary for firing. No need for a separate gun or pen style launcher - which require multiple steps for use. And if you have lost your launcher or found yourself with a broken launcher, you'd be left holding an unusable flare and no way to signal for help.
U.S. Coast Guard approved aerial flares have less demanding operational performance specifications than SOLAS flares. These flares typically had a burn time of approximately 6 seconds and an altitude of 300 feet.
-This pales in comparison to SOLAS flares that burn for about 40 seconds and an altitude greater that 900ft. Unlike SOLAS flares which have built in firing mechanisms, there is a wide array of ways to fire USCG flares, ranging from built-in (Skyblazer) to a pistol type launcher.
-Six seconds is nothing when you are hoping to catch a random glimpse of a bridge watch offshore. The SOLAS spec's devices will literally light the entire sky for more than half a minute. Anyone looking anywhere near your direction will not be amble to miss the brilliant nighttime illumination. Any boat going to and from the BVI should have a proper kit of SOLAS offshore devices. A Safety at Sea Seminar is also a good step for at least one of your crew.