Boat Flares & Signalling Devices


Welcome to the Boat Flare section.


Boat Flares

Flares indicate the position of a boat or a person in distress.


Boat Flares - White, Red and Orange

White Flares: To indicate to another boat that there could be a danger of collision. 

Red Flares: Can be used night or day and are very bright and visible.  Ideal for attracting the attention of other boats, search and rescue helicopters, and rescue organisations. 

Orange Smoke Flares are for daytime use only.  It can be a canister to throw in the water or handheld.  

Parachute Flares: A red rocket flare used day or night, reaching a height of 300 metres and then slowly descending to earth.


How to use a boat flare

  1. Select the right colour or type to be used.
  2. Take a position on the boat where the wind is blowing the smoke away from yourself and the boat.
  3. Try to wear a pair of gloves.
  4. Set off the flare, and let it burn at arm's length.
  5. Do not use a parachute flare if helicopters are in the vicinity.



A pyrotechnic flare is explosive and can be dangerous in the wrong hands. 


Keeping boat flares onboard

Boat Flares should be kept in a waterproof container and if possible, with a pair of leather gloves and goggles, at sea in an accessible location near the helm. Keep them out of reach of children.


Boat Flares - Expiry Date

Flares have an expiry date marked on their side.  When changing boat flares, keep one set aboard until the next expiry date, then dispose of the older set; that way, you always have two: a new one and the other on standby.  Always use your most recent first in an emergency and for insurance purposes. 


Disposing of pyrotechnics - TEPs

Out-of-date pyrotechnics are now known as TEP's - Time Expired Pyrotechnics.  Disposing of these boat flares can mean taking them to the local chandlery or coastguard station and checking in your location where TEPs can be disposed of. 


Handling a boat flare

Your crew and yourself must learn how to use a boat flare.  Take the flares out of their container, pass them to your crew to get used to them, and read the instructions on how they are activated.  Discuss the best position to use it so that heat and smoke are blown away from the boat. 


Team Imardex-Marine

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