CHAPTER 2: Boating Equipment
VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNALS: PYROTECHNIC
One of the most common types of visual distress signals are pyrotechnic signals such as flares. Federal regulations require that all pyrotechnic VDS be Coast Guard approved, in good condition, unexpired and readily accessible in case of an emergency. Launchers for visual distress signals that were produced before 1981 do not need to be Coast Guard approved.
U.S. Coast Guard-approved pyrotechnic VDS include:
Hand-held or aerial red flares;
Hand-held or aerial orange smoke flares;
Parachute flares or red meteor flares;
And any associated launchers of these signals.