Home Pyrotechnics Flares Are Hand Flares Visible At Night? Important Facts

Are Hand Flares Visible At Night? Important Facts

Are Hand Flares Visible At Night? Important Facts

When traveling on a boat, we need to keep visual distress signals as a backup plan in case things go wrong. It is important to have a safety net that can be used at any point to call out for help. But not all visual distress signals can be used in all situations.

Luckily for us, hand flares are a type of visual distress signal that can be used both during the day and the night. In fact, they are generally better at performing their function at night. They burn for about seconds and can be seen from 10-12km at night and 4-6km during the day. 

Restricted visibility, such as smoke, haze, or foggy weather, also generally makes the flame more visible. During the day, the sunlight and the bright environment reduce the visibility of the flare, but the red/orange flame stands out more against the night sky in the dark. 

To learn more about the types of flame you should carry when on a boat, keep reading ahead. 

Why Are Hand Flares Less Visible During The Day?

The answer is pretty simple. The sunlight makes the surroundings bright and clear. Even though the red flame can be seen against the blue sky, the contrast is not as sharp as it is with the darkness of the night. This is why hand flares have greater visibility at night. 

If you want to learn how to use a flare, watch this video:

What Are The Types Of Hand Flares That Can Be Used At Night?

There are two main types of hand flares to be used at night. The smoke signal and the signal flare. The smoke signal is ignited in hand and then thrown in the water; it releases an orange/red smoke to draw attention. The signal hand flare must be held with its head in the air, away from your face. It is lit like a match and burns bright red/orange in the air. 

What Other Flares Are Best For Night Use?

Even though hand flares can be used during the night, the best option is still to use parachute flares or multi-star flares. Parachute flares go up to 300m in the sky once ignited and burned for 40 seconds. 

Multi-star flares release starts about 100m into the sky and burns for a few seconds, but these flares are visible in the night sky, even from great distances.

What Flares Should You Carry With You On A Boat?

There are different regulations regarding how many flares are allowed on a boat. Generally speaking, you can carry up to 4-5 flares on one boat. It is advised to always have at least two smoke flares and two red signal hand flares with you when traveling. 

The Bottom Line

Hand flares are generally visible during both the nighttime and the daytime. They are significantly more visible at night owing to their bright red/orange color. They can be used as a distress signal during the night, but even if you choose not to use them, more viable alternatives do exist.