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Pyrotechnic Visual Distress Signals
  • Pyrotechnics are excellent distress signals. However, there is potential for injury and property damage if not handled properly. These devices produce a very hot flame, and the residue can cause burns and ignite flammable materials.
  • Pistol-launched and handheld parachute flares and meteors have many characteristics of a firearm and must be handled with caution. In some states, they are considered a firearm and are prohibited from use.
  • Pyrotechnic devices should be stored in a cool, dry, and prominently marked location.
VDS - Pyrotechnic: Orange Smoke Handheld
Orange Smoke—Handheld
Day Signal
VDS - Pyrotechnic: Orange Smoke Floating
Orange Smoke—Floating
Day Signal
VDS - Pyrotechnic: Red Meteor
Red Meteor
Day and Night Signal
VDS - Pyrotechnic: Red Flare
Red Flare
Day and Night Signal
Non-Pyrotechnic Visual Distress Signals
VDS - Non-Pyrotechnic: Electric Light
Electric Light — Night Signal

The electric distress light is accepted for night use only and must flash the international SOS distress signal automatically.

VDS - Non-Pyrotechnic: Orange Flag
Orange Flag — Day Signal

The distress flag is a day signal only. It must be at least 3 x 3 feet with a black square and ball on an orange background.

VDS - Non-Pyrotechnic: Arm Signal
Arm Signal

Although this signal does not meet VDS equipment requirements, wave your arms to summon help if you do not have other distress signals on board.