Boat Flares


There are three types of flare carried on board boats. Red hand held, orange smoke and parachute. These are designed for day or night use and are used to attract attention of other boat or passing aircraft.

Flares must be regularly inspected. Their expiry date is three years from manufacture, which is marked on them and they must be stowed in a readily accessible position in a watertight container away from heat.

All crew must know the correct safety precautions and firing procedures. Operating instructions might differ depending on the manufacturer. Instructions must be read and carefully followed.

Effective ranges of flares in good visibility at night:

Parachute flare:  25 to 35 nautical miles.

Hand flare:  5 to 10 nautical miles.

Effective ranges of flares in good visibility by day:

Orange smoke: Very limited, up to 1.4 nautical miles, better from air.

Red (hand and parachute): May attract attention by day.

Only flares that are within the manufacturer’s expiry date can be considered as part of your boat’s safety equipment.

You can dispose of flares that have passed the manufacturer’s expiry date at these flare disposal locations.

Severe penalties apply for misuse of flares and offenders may also face the costs of labour undertaken, risk incurred, or loss sustained in consequence of the signals.

Another safety tip from Boat and Jetski Licence Noosa Sunshine Coast, servicing areas including Caloundra and Maroochydore right through to Gympie.