Distress Signals

A boat operator shall be able to recognize, use or exhibit the following distress or call-for- assistance signals:

  • A gun or other explosive signal fired at one-minute
  • A continuous sounding made by any fog-signaling
  • Signals transmitted by Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB).
  • A signal sent by radio consisting of the spoken word “MAYDAY.”
  • The SOS signal in Morse Code (. . . – – – . . .) by any signaling
  • A signal consisting of a square flag having above or below it a ball or anything resembling a
  • A rocket or shell, shooting red stars one at a time and at short
  • A rocket parachute flare or hand flare showing a red light.
  • A smoke signal giving off orange colored smoke.
  • Slowly and repeated raising and lowering of arms outstretched to each side.
  • A piece of orange canvas with either a black square and circle or other symbol appropriate for identification from the air.
  • A dye marker.
  • A square shape or anything resembling a square shape.
  • A high intensity white light flashing at regular intervals,of 50 to 70 times per minute.
  • Flames on a boat.
  • The International Code Signal of distress by the Flags N over C.

You should also know what to do if you see one of these signals, whether that be calling the Coast Guard, assisting or standing by to assist as needed.