Pyrotechnic Distress Signals (Flares)

Sometimes extra emergency measures must be taken. Operators of pleasure craft should therefore know about Pyrotechnic Distress Signals, also referred to as flares. If carried on board, Pyrotechnic Distress Signals must be approved. Note, however, that if more than four years have passed since the date of their manufacture, Pyrotechnic Distress Signals will no longer meet the carriage Before using Pyrotechnic Distress Signals, read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. These instructions should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensue understanding of the correct procedures.

There are four basic types of Pyrotechnic Distress Signals:

  • Rocket Parachute    Gives very good visibility & burns for greater than 40 seconds.
  • Rocket parachute flare
  • Multi star     Gives very good visibility but only lasts 3 to 5 seconds.
  • Multi star flare
  • Hand held     Limited surface visibility but burns for over a minute.
  • Hand flare

  • Buoyant or Hand     Burns for 3 minutes but is only visible in the daylight.
  • Smoke signal

These are not needed when the vessel is operating in a river, canal or lake in which it can at no time be more that one nautical mile (1.852 km.) from shore, or when engaged in an official competition, or in final preparation for an official competition and having no sleeping arrangements.