Pyrotechnic Distress Signals / Flares for Pleasure Craft

Pyrotechnic distress signals are not required to be carried on board a pleasure craft that

  • is operating on a river, canal or lake in which it can at no time be more than one nautical mile from shore; or
  • has no sleeping arrangements and is engaged in an official competition or in final preparation for an official
  • is not more than 6m in length and not fitted with an engine Types of Flares

Great way of signal distress/need of assistance There are four types of approved flares: A, B, C and D.

Type A: Rocket Parachute Flare:

  • creates a single red star;
  • reaches a height of 300 m (984’) and comes down slowly with a parachute; is easily seen from the ground or air; and
  • burns for at least 40

Rocket parachute flare

Type B: Multi-Star Flare:

  • creates two or more red stars;
  • reaches a height of 100 m (328’1”) and each burns for four or five seconds; and is easily seen from the ground or
  • Some Type B flares project only one star at a When using the single star type, two flares must be fired within 15 seconds of each other. This means that you will need double the number of cartridges to meet the requirements.

Multi star flare

Type C: Hand-Held Flare:

  • is a red flame torch you hold in your hand;
  • provides limited visibility from the ground;
  • is best used to help air searchers locate you; and
  • burns for at least one
  • When lighting the flare, hold it clear of the boat and Don’t look directly at the flare while it is burning.

Hand flare

Type D: Smoke Signal (Buoyant or Hand-Held):

  • creates a dense orange smoke for three minutes;
  • is to be used only in daylight; and
  • can be packaged for pleasure craft with three flares that last one minute

Smoke signal

Prior to launching a distress flare – read the manufacturers’ instructions and date. They should be keep in a waterproof container and easily accessible.

*Flares must be Transport Canada approved; no more than 4 years passed their manufactured date; and stored in a waterproof container.