Distress Flares and Smokes
Flares are an item that is a critical part of any vessel’s safety kit. They must be stored in a waterproof container with the vessel’s registration number, away from heat and moisture. Flares contain highly reactive chemicals, and once activated, assist in alerting rescuers to the user’s location.
Flares must be within their expiry date, and maintained so they are serviceable at all times. There are different kinds of flares used by boaters, depending on how far offshore they travel.
Inshore Flares are for use within 5 nautical miles of the mainland, or within one nautical mile of an island situated more than 5 nautical miles from the mainland. Offshore flares are for use more than 5 nautical miles from the mainland or more than one nautical mile from an island situated more than five nautical miles from the mainland.
There are various flare types available:
- Orange smoke flares Daylight use only. Emit a cloud of orange smoke. Orange hand held flares burn for about 60 seconds. Visibility is approximately 4km away.
- Red hand held flares - both day and night use. Visibility is 10-12 km away at night, or 4-6km away by day.
- Parachute flares - suitable for both day and night use. Project a rocket to 300m high, and then deploy a parachute suspended red flare. Visibility is 40km at night and 15km by day.