4 Best Electronic Distress SOS Signal Lights Review

Posted by Author David Lee


Last Updated October 1, 2022
Electronic Distress SOS Signal Lights
An distress SOS signal light is a device that transmits SOS Morse Code to other boats and ships in the area. SOS, which stands for “save our ship” or “save our souls”, is an internationally recognized distress signal. SOS light or electronic boat flare can be used on many different types of vessels including sailing yachts, fishing boats, kayaks, and even motorboats! The SOS light is usually comprised of three continuous flashes with one second between each flash. This pattern will continue until another group responds by illuminating their own SOS light or until the emergency situation has been resolved.

TOP Electronic Boat Flares Comparison Table

NameWarranty
❑1. White SOS LED Distress Signal Electronic Flare with Distress Flag [Sirius Signal]+
❑2. White Electronic Distress Boating Safety Light (Long Range Personal Strobe) [ACR]+
❑3. Yellow Personal Electronic Hand Distress Strobe Light [ACR]+
❑4. White Hand Electronic Distress Signal (Boating Safety Light) [EF-30A-3]+

1. The Best White SOS LED Distress Signal Electronic Flare with Distress Flag [Sirius Signal]

White SOS LED Distress Signal Electronic Flare with Distress Flag [Sirius Signal] Picture

2. The Best White Electronic Distress Boating Safety Light (Long Range Personal Strobe) [ACR]

White Electronic Distress Boating Safety Light (Long Range Personal Strobe) [ACR] Picture

3. The Best Yellow Personal Electronic Hand Distress Strobe Light [ACR]

Yellow Personal Electronic Hand Distress Strobe Light [ACR] Picture

4. The Best White Hand Electronic Distress Signal (Boating Safety Light) [EF-30A-3]

White Hand Electronic Distress Signal (Boating Safety Light) [EF-30A-3] Picture

What is an electronic boat flare?

SOS signal light is a non-pyrotechnic visual signaling device that is used as a visual distress signal to indicate to other vessels in the area that you need help. They can be used in both daylight and nighttime conditions, making them a versatile tool for any boater.

How to use SOS international distress signal light?

There are a few different ways to use electronic boat flares. The most common way is by using them as an anchor light. This means that you will keep the distress signal light on at all times when your vessel is anchored in order for other vessels to see it from a distance. Another way to use distress flares is by displaying them when your vessel is in distress. SOS signal lights are used to let other vessels know that you need immediate assistance and can be seen by anyone nearby looking for them. International SOS signal lights will work even if the boat or ship emitting them has lost power or radio contact with others. Lastly, SOS distress signals for boats make a great flashlight when needed! They can be seen from a long distance and is simple to use by pressing the SOS button. All modern models are also water-resistant, making them great for any weather or ocean conditions! Electronic flares help others locate you in an emergency situation and should only be activated when needed because they drain the batteries quickly (usually within about 90 minutes).

What is a marine distress flare?

Distress signals are used to show that you need help and require immediate assistance. The signals are internationally recognized and must only be used if you are in distress. 'Mayday, mayday, mayday' in emergencies only.

Types of SOS signal lights

Visual distress signal devices are available in a variety of types and styles, but they all work essentially the same. SOS light devices that have rotating paddles or shutters emit SOS signals through flashing LED lights. These devices can either be powered by batteries or solar power panels. SOS signal lights also come with different mounting options such as flush mount for deck installation (requires drilling), surface mount (screws included), or non-mount models for wall or cabin installation.

What is the best type of SOS distress signal for boats?

Boat electronic flares are available in both battery-operated and solar-powered options. SOS signal lights that run on batteries are usually more affordable, but they also use up the batteries quickly if left on for an extended period of time without being used. On the other hand, electronic boat flares that run off of rechargeable power sources make great choices because you won't have to replace the batteries as often, but they are usually more expensive. Electronic flares that run on solar power panels do not need any additional charging, but they may not work as well in cloudy or foggy conditions.

What size of visual distress signal do I need for my boat?

Electric distress lights are available in a variety of sizes. The larger emergency flares for boats will require more space to install and may not work as well for smaller boats because they need to be mounted at a higher position.

What is the best size of a recognized distress signal?

The best size of distress flare for your boat will depend on the type and size of your vessel. The larger SOS signal lights are great for boats or ships that are 30 feet or longer, while the smaller models work well for vessels under 30 feet. Electronic boat flares should also be mounted at a height where they can be seen from the widest possible angle ( at least 15 feet above sea level), but they can also be installed higher if needed.

How do I benefit from morse code SOS signal?

SOS signal lights are a great investment for your boat because they help others locate you in an emergency situation. LED SOS lights is a great tool to have on board when out at sea, but also during any other outdoor trip or expedition!

What are the drawbacks of marine distress signals?

SOS signal lights are powerful tools for boats, but they are not required by law. Electric distress lights can be purchased in many locations at affordable prices, making them easy to have on hand without breaking the bank! However, SOS light devices should only be used when you need assistance because they will use up your batteries quickly if left active. Lastly, electronic flares only come in bright red color which may not be seen in low-light conditions. Distress flares don't need to be used during all types of weather, but they should only be turned on when required because they can drain the batteries quickly! SOS light devices are a great way to help others locate you and your boat if an emergency situation occurs while out at sea or anywhere else outdoors.

Is the SOS distress signal worth it?

Electronic boat flares are a great investment that can be very helpful in emergency situations. They are should only be used when needed because they use up the batteries quickly, but they are a powerful tool to have onboard your vessel. Distress flares are a great way to help others find you in an emergency, and they come in a bright red color that can be seen in low-light conditions.

What materials do electronic boat flares come in?

SOS distress lights are made of a variety of materials, but the most common type is the plastic models. Plastic SOS signal lights are available in both battery-operated and solar-powered options, and they come in a variety of sizes to fit boats of all shapes and sizes! Other types of distress flares include metal components. They are usually more expensive but last longer and are better for boats that need emergency flares in harsh weather conditions. The models made of metal will not break or crack as easily, but they may rust over time.

What is the best place for an SOS signal light on a boat?

SOS signal lights are available in a variety of sizes, but the best location on your boat will depend on its type and size. Larger models work well for boats 30 feet or longer, while smaller SOS signals may be necessary for vessels under this length. Other factors to consider when choosing an electronic flare installation spot include battery life expectancy and how visible the distress flares will be from different angles.

What is included in the kit?

All models include also a distress flag (certified under USCG 160.072 as daytime visual distress signal).

What is important when choosing SOS signal lights?

Quality of construction

Plastic emergency flares for boats usually have a shorter battery life expectancy, while metal models tend to be more durable and last longer. LED SOS lights with plastic components can break or crack under extreme weather conditions, but they may also work well in low-light situations. Models with metal components are better for harsh weather conditions, but they may not be as visible in low-light settings.

Design

Electronic boat flares come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are designed for all outdoor activities. But it's important you will be able to take it in your hand with comfortability and that it matches the size of your boat. Some SOS signals come with a mounting bracket for easy installation, while others have Velcro straps to keep them in place.

Safe and Easy to Use

SOS signal lights only need to be used when you really need them, as they will quickly drain the batteries if left on. When an emergency situation arises, it's important that you and your crew can easily activate the light without any trouble. Some SOS signals come with a test button that will help you ensure the electronic flare is working properly.

Operating Life

The personal marine strobe light should have a long-lasting battery, especially if it's solar-powered. They come with replaceable batteries, while others are rechargeable. Make sure to check the specifications of each SOS signal before making your purchase to ensure you're getting the most out of your investment! For most models, their operating life is till 9 hours of continuous electronic flare use.

Waterproofness

The model should be waterproof and weatherproof, as they will be exposed to a variety of harsh conditions. Make sure to check the model you like before making your purchase to ensure it can withstand rain, sleet, snow, and other inclement weather conditions. Some SOS signals come with a water-resistant case that will help keep it safe during bad weather conditions.

Easy Activation

The product should be easy to activate, even when you're in a panic. Some SOS signals come with a lanyard that can be easily pulled to turn it on, while others have a simple ON/OFF switch. Test the SOS light before using it in an emergency situation to make sure you and your crew can handle it.

Impact-resistance

Electronic boat flare should be able to withstand a certain amount of impact without breaking. Some of them have Impact-resistant cases. Electronic flares operate with an SOS button to turn them on/off and a SOS button to activate the flashing signal. SOS light devices can be waterproof or water-resistant, but they should never be used in/near saltwater because they will corrode quickly. This is important for both the SOS light and its accompanying flag, as they will need to endure wind, rain, and other harsh weather conditions.

USCG requirements

All products from this chart fulfill USCG Night, Day, and Audible distress signal requirements. Electronic boat flares are usually categorized as visual distress signals, but they can also be used audibly. The SOS light should have the following specifications:
  • flashing light at 360° for 24 hours;
  • white flash every 60 seconds to help increase visibility during low lighting conditions;
  • water-resistant/weatherproof case if SOS signal is not waterproof;
  • SOS button to turn the SOS light on/off;
  • SOS audio output for audible distress signals, typically at 120 decibels or higher;
  • SOS light should be no more than 55 pounds to make it easy for you and your crew to handle while in emergency situations.

Signal Brightness (Intensity)

The SOS signal should be bright and easily visible during the day and night. When picking a distress flare, make sure to check the intensity of its flashing light. The higher the number, the brighter the SOS signal will be. Some SOS signals come with a strobe feature that will increase their visibility in low-light conditions. The incredibly bright signal is visible up to 10 nautical miles for collision avoidance and attracting attention. High-intensity LED strobe maintains a minimum peak equivalent fixed intensity of 75 cd for 20 hours or greater (room temperature).

Flotation

The SOS signal should be able to float on water while also being easy to handle. Improved flotation of some models keeps the signal higher off the water compared to older models. Automatically rights itself and floats when in the water (no buoyancy/flotation ring necessary). The electric distress light should be solid and buoyant, so it will stay afloat but also be easy to handle while you're in a panic situation.

Light Weight and Compactness

Electronic boat flares should be lightweight and easy to handle. It's better to choose a plastic model to help reduce weight. These products are typically small and compact, making it easier for you and your crew to handle emergency situations when there's a lot of commotion going on around the vessel. They also should be easy to fit into tight spaces so they can be held by hand without added equipment or accessories

Batteries

Personal marine strobe lights should come with new batteries, or they can be purchased separately (user-replaceable batteries). These devices use many different types of batteries such as AAA-, AA- and C-cell alkaline (not included), D-Cell alkaline (not included), lithium primary cell CR123A / RCR123A/ 16340/ 17670 rechargeable type. Note: for most models, batteries usually are not included in the kit.

Important tips to use for personal marine strobe light for boat

  1. Distress flare should be easy to use and understand, as there's no time for confusion in an emergency. Make sure to test it before using it in an emergency situation to make sure you and your crew can handle it.
  2. The SOS signal should be bright and easily visible during the day and night.
  3. When picking an electronic flare, make sure to check the intensity of its flashing light. The higher the number, the brighter the SOS signal will be.
  4. Some SOS signals come with a strobe feature that will increase their visibility in low-light conditions.
  5. The incredibly bright signal is visible up to 25 nautical miles for collision avoidance and attracting attention.
  6. High-intensity LED strobe maintains a minimum peak equivalent fixed intensity of 75 cd for 20 hours or greater (room temperature).

SOS signal light maintenance tips

  • To prevent these devices from corroding, always rinse off saltwater with fresh water after use.
  • Add a desiccant to the SOS distress light kit to help absorb any condensation that may occur so your device can be ready for its next emergency situation.
  • In order to maintain an SOS signal of acceptable performance, it is important to regularly inspect SOS signal devices and replace batteries as necessary.
  • Check the specifications of each product before you make your purchase to ensure it can handle a little wear and tear, like saltwater corrosion or regularly checking up on its equipment (batteries).

Best branded electronic boat flares

The market is dominated by some manufacturers such as: Sirius Signal, ACR, EF-30A-3.

Don’t buy cheap sos signal light

If you buy cheap products, you will end up buying twice. There are some very cheap electronic boat flares on the market, but these are the ones made from poor quality material and components, and they can break down after a few months. Buy more quality model as it will be worth price that you pay.

FAQ

Let's go over some frequently asked questions about electronic boat flares.

Are electronic flares Coast Guard-approved?

Of the four LED lights, only the white Sirius Signal SOS Distress Light, manufactured by Weems & Plath is Coast Guard compliant. Simply put, this is the only device (electronic or otherwise) that can take the place of pyrotechnic flares.

Are signal flares illegal?

Laws Regulating the Use of Flares. Around the world, it is illegal to use or test a flare, regardless of its kind, unless there is a real emergency.

What can I use instead of flares?

The SOS Distress Light is the first and only LED Visual Distress Signal Device accepted to completely replace dangerous and environmentally harmful pyrotechnic marine flares. It is battery-operated, buoyant, and lightweight. The SOS Distress Light can be hand-held, tethered, or hoisted aloft.

How many distress signal lights should you carry on a boat?

If pyrotechnic devices are selected, a minimum of three must be carried. Pyrotechnic devices come with an expiration date, which is 42 months from the date of manufacture. To meet carriage requirements, you must have at least three un-expired flares aboard.

Do I need a signal light on my boat?

Boaters must have current dated US Coast Guard-approved day and night signals for all boats operating on coastal and open bodies of water. If operating at night, one electric distress light or three combination day/night red flares are required.

Do expired flares still work?

Since you're unlikely to use up your flares (it's rare that you break down or get in a boating accident), they'll eventually expire (many brands have a shelf life of three boating seasons or 3½ years). They should work past the expiration date but they might not, and the risk of breaking increases.

What is a distress signal code?

SOS is a Morse code distress signal ( ▄ ▄ ▄ ▄▄▄ ▄▄▄ ▄▄▄ ▄ ▄ ▄ ), used internationally, that was originally established for maritime use. Moreover, due to its high profile use in emergencies, the phrase "SOS" has entered general usage to informally indicate a crisis or the need for action.

What are the main distress signals?

The most important are:
  1. visual signals, such as a flame, a red flare, an orange smoke signal, or a square flag displayed with a ball below;
  2. sound signals, such as a gun or rocket fired at regular intervals, or a continuous sounding of a fog-signal apparatus;
  3. radio signals.

Which signal is recognized as a distress signal?

Channel 9 on CB and Channel 16 on VHF marine radio (156.8 MHz) are recognized distress channels. If you can assist the stricken vessel without endangering yourself, you should.

What is a VDS on a boat?

Visual distress signals or V.D.S. are part of your boat's safety equipment. Check them before you leave the harbor for conditions and if they have an expiration date, be sure they are current.

What does a red flare mean?

Red flares, either sent as a rocket or held in the hand, are widely recognized as a maritime distress signal. The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) has standards for visual signals, including both handheld and aerial flares.

What is a hand flare?

A hand flare is a small cylindrical stick which when activated, produces an intense red smoke or light without an explosion.

How many VDS must you carry?

Expired VDSs may be carried on board, but a minimum of three unexpired VDSs must be carried in the vessel.

What electronic distress sos signal lights are good?

Where to Buy Cheap Electronic Distress SOS Signal Lights?

Take a look at this TOP electronic boat flares reviewed of 2022 and then press the «Check Price» button to check their price and availability.

What is the budget sos signal light for sale?

The White SOS LED Distress Signal Electronic Flare with Distress Flag [Sirius Signal] is our Editor's Choice as the best model of electronic boat flares with its combination of performance, features, quality and price.

Thesandshore.com is a source where the post about electronic boat flares appeared first and was written by David Lee, an expert on marine eqipment. He has been boating for over 20 years and currently lives in Florida with his wife and children.

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Comments to Review

  1. I was on the water one day when I got lost. I didn’t know where I was and I started to panic. I saw some SOS Signal Lights in the distance and I decided to pull over. I turned on the light and within minutes, I had help. I was so grateful for the SOS Signal Light. It saved me from being lost and scared.

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