Visual distress signals (VDS) are an important safety measure for boaters, providing a way to alert others of their presence and need for help. Non-pyrotechnic VDS are an important type of VDS, as they can be used during the day, when pyrotechnic VDS are not allowed. This article explains what non-pyrotechnic VDS are, and which ones are approved for daytime use.
Understanding Non-Pyrotechnic VDS
Non-pyrotechnic VDS are visual distress signals that are not dependent on the use of explosives or combustible materials. These VDS can be used in situations where pyrotechnic VDS are not allowed, such as during the day. Non-pyrotechnic VDS are typically less expensive than pyrotechnic VDS, and also have the advantage of not requiring the user to maintain and replace them as often.
Non-pyrotechnic VDS come in a variety of forms, including flags, lights, and smoke signals. The most common type of non-pyrotechnic VDS is a flag, which can be displayed from a boat or a shoreline to indicate a distress situation. Lights are also often used to signal distress, either from a boat or from a shoreline. Smoke signals are another type of non-pyrotechnic VDS, and are usually used when a boat is in distress and unable to reach shore.
Daytime Use of Approved VDS
When it comes to using non-pyrotechnic VDS during the day, there are a few approved VDS that are allowed. The most common of these is the International Code Flag “N”, which is a square flag with a black and white checkerboard pattern. This flag is often displayed from a boat or shoreline to indicate distress.
In addition to the International Code Flag “N”, a variety of other flags are also approved for daytime use. These include the International Code Flag “A”, which is a blue and white flag with a red cross, the International Code Flag “C”, which is a red and white flag with a blue cross, and the International Code Flag “D”, which is a white flag with a red cross.
Lights are also approved for daytime use. A variety of lights can be used to signal distress, including strobe lights, flares, and handheld lights. Strobe lights are a common type