2015 New York Safe Boating - 17

Pyrotechnic devices include meteor or parachute flares
(which are launched into the air), hand-held flares, and handheld and floating devices that produce smoke. Pyrotechnic
devices	are	excellent	distress	signals	because	they	are	visible	
from	a	distance	and	easy	to	recognize.	However,	they	
produce a very hot flame and can cause burns and ignite
flammable	materials,	so	you	must	exercise	caution	when	
using and storing them. These devices generate hot slag as
they burn, so when you use hand-held devices you must hold
them well overboard to prevent the boat from catching fire.
Pyrotechnic devices are not right for every boater. Some
of these devices have similarities to firearms and must be
handled accordingly. New York State does not consider a
pistol style launcher for pyrotechnic distress signals a firearm.
When travelling to another state or country find out if
boaters are allowed to have pistol style launchers on board.
Never leave a pyrotechnic shell in the launcher. A curious
person may get hurt.
Pyrotechnic	devices	carry	an	expiration	date,	and	if	your	
devices	are	expired,	they	don't	count	toward	the	minimum	
carry requirement discussed below. When buying pyrotechnic
visual	distress	equipment	always	check	the	expiration	date.	
Store your pyrotechnic devices in a cool, dry location. We
suggest a watertight container painted red or orange and
clearly marked "DISTRESS SIGNALS" or "FLARES."

Non-Pyrotechnic Devices include flags and electric
distress lights. These must be US Coast Guard Approved.
For daytime, the distress signal is a 3 foot by 3 foot flag
with a black square and ball on an orange background. For
nighttime, an electric distress light automatically flashes the
international distress signal-SOS.

Carriage requirements
Who	has	to	carry	VDS?	During	the	daytime,	regardless	
of the distance from shore, any pleasure boat 16 feet or
longer,	except	sailboats	less	than	26	feet	not	equipped	with	
mechanical power, must carry day and night signals. PWC
are required to carry a fluorescent-orange distress flag which
shall be a minimum of one foot square or other appropriate
USCG	approved	daytime	VDS.		All	boats,	except	rowboats,	
canoes, and kayaks, regardless of size must have nighttime
signals between sunset and sunrise. The signal requirements
do not apply if the boat is participating in an organized race,
parade or regatta.
If you use only pyrotechnic signals, you must have at least
three that are approved for day and three that are approved
for night. You may use a combination of devices approved
for both day and night to meet this requirement.

NEVER USE ROAD FLARES ON YOUR BOAT!
ROAD FLARES DON'T HAVE A HAND GRIP, AND
MAY CAUSE FIRES OR INJURY! ROAD FLARES
ARE NOT USCG APPROVED.
17



2015 New York Safe Boating

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of 2015 New York Safe Boating

Contents
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2015 New York Safe Boating - Contents
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