The Regulations

This info is directed primarily to recreational boaters, but the demands discussed also apply to operators of vessels engaged in the delivering of six or under passengers. The intuitive Distress Signal demands for many commercial vessels room in title 46 that the code of commonwealth Regulations. The requirement to bring visual distress signals became effective ~ above January 1, 1981. This regulation requires all boats when used on coastal waters, which consists of the good Lakes, the ar seas and also those waters directly associated to the great Lakes and also the territorial seas, up to a point where the waters are less than 2 miles wide, and boats owned in the united States once operating top top the high seas to be equipped with visual distress signals.

You are watching: If pyrotechnic visual distress signals are required how many must be onboard

The only exceptions are during daytime (sunrise come sunset) for:

Recreational watercrafts less 보다 16 feet in length watercrafts participating in organized occasions such as races, regattas or marine parades open up sailboats not equipped with propulsion machinery and also less than 26 feet in size Manually propelled boats

These watercrafts only need to carry night signals when provided on this waters in ~ night.

Types of visual Distress Signals

A wide variety of signaling devices, both pyrotechnic and non-pyrotechnic, can be carried to accomplish the demands of the regulation.

Recreational watercrafts less 보다 16" operating in coastal waters need only lug night signaling gadgets when activate at night. Every other watercrafts must lug both night and day signaling devices. Any combination can be lugged as long as they add up to three signals because that day use and three signals because that night use. Three day/ night signaling devices meet both requirements.

Note: If pyrotechnic tools are selected, a minimum of three should be carried. Pyrotechnic gadgets come through an expiration date, i beg your pardon is 42 month from the day of manufacture. To satisfy carriage requirements, girlfriend must have at the very least three un-expired flares aboard. Girlfriend may bring expired flares as earlier up, however they will certainly not count towards the legitimate requirement.

The adhering to details a combination of devices which have the right to be carried in order to satisfy the requirements:

three hand-held red flares (day and night). Flares must be under 42 month of age. One electrical distress irradiate (night only). One hand-held red flare and also two parachute flares (day and night). One hand-held orange smoke signal, 2 floating orange smoke signal (day) and one electric distress irradiate (night only). Flares have to be under 42 months of age.

Pyrotechnic visual Distress Signaling Devices

Must be shore Guard approved, in serviceable condition and also stowed to be readily accessible. If they are significant with a date showing the serviceable life, this date must not have passed. Launchers produced prior to Jan. 1, 1981, intended because that use through approved signals room not forced to be coast Guard Approved.

USCG approved Pyrotechnic visual Distress Signals and Associated gadgets include:

Pyrotechnic red flares, hand hosted or aerial Pyrotechnic orange smoke, hand held or floating Launchers for aerial red meteors or parachute flares

The objective of the regulation is to guarantee that boaters have a method of attracting attention and securing help should the require arise. Properly supplied visual distress signals will also help reduce the time it takes to find a boat in challenge when a search is underway. This will mitigate the possibility of a young emergency ending up being a tragedy.

Non-pyrotechnic intuitive Distress Signaling Devices


Must lug the manufacturer"s certification the they meet coast Guard requirements. They need to be in serviceable condition and also stowed to be conveniently accessible. This group includes:

Orange distress flag electrical distress light

No single signaling maker is right under all conditions and for all purposes. Consideration should therefore be offered to carrying number of types. Because that example, an aerial flare deserve to be seen over a lengthy distance ~ above a clear night, yet for closer work, a hand-held flare might be more useful.

SOS Distress light

The SOS Distress light is an LED visual Distress Signal an equipment that meets U.S. Coastline Guard needs to totally replace classic pyrotechnic flares. Unlike traditional flares, this digital flare never ever expires, i m sorry solves the difficulty of flare disposal. The LED irradiate flashes as much as 60 hours, unlike traditional flares the last minute or less. The flashes only the SOS sequence, per USCG requirements, and also is visible up to 10 nautical miles.


Hand organized Orange smoke Distress signals

Hand hosted distress signal are an extremely common. Make sure to organize the flare through a glove, and make certain to save the smoke down-wind of her boat.


Floating Orange exhilaration Distress signal

These come in two varieties, one lasting about 5 minutes, one lasting 15 minutes.


Orange Distress Signal Flag for boats

The distress flag must be at least 3 x 3 feet v a black color square and ball on an orange background. That is accepted as a work signal only and also is especially reliable in bright sunlight. The flag is most distinctive when waved on other such as a paddle or a watercraft hook or flown native a mast.


Sea-marker Dye

This is advantageous when wait search has actually been initiated. Comes in several colors, and should be offered when chances of being spotted space high.


Signal mirror

Although not known by USCG as a carriage requirement, a well-handled signal mirror can be really effective in calling attention to oneself. It is low in cost and has an endless shelf life.


Night use Only

electrical Distress irradiate for watercrafts

The electrical distress irradiate is embraced for night use only and must immediately flash the global SOS distress signal, i m sorry is three short flashes, three lengthy flashes, and three quick flashes. Flashed 4 to six times each minute, this is an unmistakable distress signal, famed to many boaters. The device can be checked any time because that serviceability if shielded native view.

NOTE: An plain flashlight is not acceptable due to the fact that it must be manually flashed and does not normally produce enough candle power. The Regulation States: "No human in-a watercraft shall display a visual distress signal top top water come which this subpart applies under any kind of circumstances except a case where help is needed due to the fact that of prompt or potential risk to the persons aboard."

Day and Night Use

Hand organized Flare Distress Signal Parachute Red Flare Distress Signals - (25 mm or larger) this signals need use in mix with a an ideal launching device. Hand organized Rocket-Propelled Parachute Red Flare Distress Signals Distress Signal for Boats, Red Aerial Pyrotechnic Flare - These gadgets may be one of two people meteor or parachute assisted type. Several of these signals might require usage in mix with a perfect launching device.

In some states the pistol launcher for meteors and parachute flares may be taken into consideration a firearm. Therefore, examine with your state authorities prior to acquiring together launcher.

Visual Distress Signals: When and How to usage Them

Visual distress signal are part of your boat"s safety equipment. Check them before you leaving harbor. Their intended purpose is come summon help should the require arise. Intuitive distress signals can only be reliable when someone is in a position to check out them. Therefore, when employing pyrotechnic devices, carry out so only when you watch or listen a boat or aircraft or friend are fairly sure that someone on coast is in position to view your signal and take action. Great judgment is vital part of effective use of visual distress signals.

All distress signaling tools have both benefits and disadvantages. The most popular, since of cost, are most likely the smaller sized pyrotechnic devices. Pyrotechnics make wonderful distress signals, universally recognized as such, but they have actually the drawback that they have the right to be offered only once. Additionally, there is a potential for both injury and property damages if not effectively handled.

Pyrotechnics devices have a very hot flame, and also the ash and slag can cause burns and ignite product that burns easily. Projected devices, such as pistol launched and hand-held parachute flares and also meteors, have plenty of of the same characteristics of a firearm and must be handled with the exact same caution and respect.

The hand-held and the floating orange exhilaration signaling gadgets are fantastic (if no the best) job signals, particularly on clean days. Both signals room most effective with irradiate to middle winds because greater winds tend to save the acting close come the water and disperse that which makes it difficult to see.

Red hand-held flares deserve to be supplied by day, but are most reliable at night or in minimal visibility such together fog or haze. Only coastline Guard or SOLAS flares space acceptable for usage on recreational boats. When choosing such flares look because that the coastline Guard approval number and date the manufacture. Make sure that the maker does not carry the marking: "Not approved for usage on entertain boats," and that no much more than 3 years have passed due to the fact that manufacture.


If you see a intuitive Distress Signal in the Distance

The unwritten regulation of the sea needs that a mariner come to the aid of a mariner in distress. Therefore, have to you watch a distress signal, immediate and also positive action should be taken. Inform the nearest coast Guard station or State authority by radio. Channel 9 ~ above CB and Channel 16 ~ above VHF maritime radio (156.8 MHz) are known distress channels. If you have the right to assist the stricken vessel without endangering yourself, friend should. The Federal watercraft Safety act of 1971 has a "Good Samaritan" i stating: "Any human ....who gratuitously and also in good faith renders aid at the scene of a courage collision, accident, or various other casualty there is no objection of any person assisted, shall not be hosted liable for any act or omission in providing or arranging salvage, towage, medical treatment, or other help where the assisting person acts together an ordinary, sensibly prudent guy or mrs would have acted under the very same or comparable circumstances."


Flags serve a variety of objectives in the naval environment. There is no legislation governing the flying of any kind of flag on numbered, undocumented or license is granted vessels. However, there is a ideal etiquette connected when displaying flags.

Recreational boaters might fly flags to display boating affiliations. Because that example, many yacht clubs provide triangular shame burgees come members. And, members that the U.S. Strength Squadrons and U.S. Coast Guard auxiliary fly flags to identify themselves. Boaters also fly flags to identify their home state or nationality.

Flags are likewise used for particular boating tasks and navigational purposes. Because that example, boats with scuba divers must fly a "diver down" flag as soon as divers are in the water. There are two types of diver under flags and also both are appropriate to display. They are a red flag v a white diagonal line stripe and also a strictly replica of one "alfa" flag.

Another instance is the flags used by committee members and participants of occasions sponsored by the us Sailing, the governing body of sailboat racing.

See more: Gnc Detox Drink For Drug Test, How Do I Cleanse My Body Before A Drug Test

Flags are likewise used to signal your need for help. When in distress, a watercraft should fly an orange flag through a black square and black ball. A man overboard flag, consists of the letter "O", deserve to be fixed to a staff which is consequently fixed to a life ring.