All vessels operating outside protected waters must carry flares. The type you need depends on how far offshore you travel.
Flare demonstration events and training sessions
Marine Safety will be hosting the demonstration and members of the public are invited to attend and encouraged to actively participate. This is a great opportunity for members of the public to see, handle and use emergency distress flares in a controlled environment.
If you are arranging for a flare demonstration and training session, please ensure that you submit a Flare demonstration application form.
Upcoming flare events
Marine Safety regularly run flare demonstration events for public awareness and education. When the next demonstrations are planned, they will be displayed below.
|Flare demonstration application and notification advice form||Kb|
Types of flares
There are three main types of distress flares approved for use in Western Australia. All of them must be manufactured to Australian Standard AS 2092-2004 or comply with AMSA Marine Orders Part 25.
|Safety equipment: Flares||Kb|
Orange smoke flares
These are designed for day use only and have no luminosity. They emit a cloud of orange smoke. Orange hand-held flares burn for about 60 seconds.
The buoyant canister, which is safe for use in petrol or oil covered water, burns for about three minutes.
The potential sighting range by day is 4 km, although this can drop to less than 1 km in a fresh breeze; however, these flares are especially visible from aircraft, even on windy days.
Red hand-held flares
These distress flares are designed for use both night and day and burn for about 45 seconds at 15,000 candle power.
The potential sighting range at night is 10 - 12 km and about 4 - 6 km during the day.
Red parachute distress rockets
Red parachute rockets are designed for use both night and day.
The rockets project a rocket to 300 metres high and then deploy a parachute-suspended red flare, which burns for about 40 seconds at 30,000 candle power.
The potential sighting range is 15 km by day and 40 km at night.
All boats operating outside protected waters must carry flares. The type you need depends on how far offshore you travel.
|Location||Distance from shore||Smoke flares||Incandescent flares|
|Inshore||Within 5 nautical miles from the mainland, or within one nautical mile from an island situated more than 5 nautical miles from the mainland||2 hand-held orange smoke flares, or 1 orange smoke canister||2 hand-held red flares, or 2 parachute flares.|
|Offshore||More than 5 nautical miles from the mainland, or more than one nautical mile from an island situated more than 5 nautical miles from the mainland||2 hand-held orange smoke flares, or 1 orange smoke canister||2 parachute flares|
Only an offshore set of flares is required if operating in both inshore and offshore areas.
Flares and their characteristics
|Style||Type of flare||Suitable use||Burn time||Sighting range potential|
|Smoke||Orange hand-held smoke flare||Day use only
Orange cloud of smoke
Especially visible from aircraft
|60 seconds||Day: 4km
Note: Less than 1 km in a fresh breeze
|Smoke||Orange smoke canister flare||Day use only
Orange cloud of smoke
Especially visible from aircraft
|3 minutes||Day: 4km
Note: Less than 1 km in a fresh breeze
|Incandescent||Red hand-held flare||Night and day
Emits 15,000 candle powers of light
|45 seconds||Day: 4 - 6 km
Night: 10 - 12km
|Incandescent||Red parachute distress rocket||Night and day
Emits 30,000 candle powers of light
Propels a parachute-suspended red flare to an altitude of approximately 300 metres
|40 seconds||Day: 15km
Storage and expiry dates
Flares should always be readily accessible: stored in a waterproof container, in a place where they don't receive too much pounding in rough conditions, away from dampness and heat sources above 60 degrees Celsius.
Flares must be within the expiry date and maintained in serviceable condition at all times.
Check your flares regularly to ensure that they have not been rendered unserviceable by exposure to moisture.
Mildew or bubbling of paper coatings may indicate signs of moisture.
How to use flares
Flares are best used when you believe there is chance of it being seen.
The method used to fire flares varies widely between flare types and manufacturers. The firing instructions are always printed on the flare, and you should be familiar with your flares methods.
Hand-held red flares especially, burn very hot and may spill glowing embers. Hold it downwind so that embers don't spill into the vessel and tilt it while in your hand to avoid being burnt.
Unauthorised use of flares
There are severe penalties for the improper use of flares.
Flares have a very serious purpose. Falsely indicating distress rightly carries a severe penalty, but it also wastes a lot of time and resources - possibly weakening the ability to respond to a genuine emergency.
Do not leave flares in your boat when it is not in use, and keep them away from children.
Disposal of unserviceable flares
Please do not discard unserviceable flares in general rubbish collections or land fill.
Up to 10 flares may still be disposed of at the following Department of Transport offices and participating Household Hazardous Waste Program centres provided by WALGA and Volunteer Marine Rescue groups.
Department of Transport and Household Hazardous Waste program centres
|Service Type||Suburb||Business Name||Phone number||Phone number (secondary)||Fax||Pre-booking required||Business Hours||Street address||Postal address||Business Type||Vehicle type||Comments|
|Flare disposal site||Albany||City of Albany (Flare disposal)||(08) 9842 3415||No||Please call for details.||Hanrahan Road Waste Minimisation Facility, Hanrahan Road, Albany WA 6330||Authorised Agency|
|Flare disposal site||Albany||Department of Transport, Albany (Flare disposal)||(08) 9216 8520||No||Please call for details.||178 Stirling Terrace, Albany WA 6330||Department of Transport|
|Flare disposal site||Augusta||Augusta Volunteer Marine and Rescue Group (Flare disposal)||0408 907 966||No||Please call for details.||Lot 244 Leeuwin Road, Augusta WA 6290||Authorised Agency|
|Flare disposal site||Australind||Bunbury Harvey Regional Council (Flare disposal)||(08) 9797 2404||No||Please call for details.||Stanley Road Waste Management Facility, Stanley Road, Australind WA 6233||Authorised Agency|
|Flare disposal site||Balcatta||City of Stirling (Flare disposal)||(08) 9205 8555||No||Please call for details.||238 Balcatta Road, Balcatta WA 6021||Authorised Agency||Located at the Recycling Centre Balcatta|
|Flare disposal site||Baldivis||City of Rockingham (Flare disposal)||(08) 9528 8550||No||Please call for details.||Millar Road Landfill Facility, Millar Road West, Baldivis WA 6171||Authorised Agency|
|Flare disposal site||Bremer Bay||Bremer Bay Sea Search and Boating Club (Flare disposal)||0429 374 171||No||Please call for details.||John Street, Bremer Bay WA 6338||Authorised Agency|
|Flare disposal site||Brookdale||City of Armadale (Flare disposal)||(08) 9399 3935||No||Please call for details.||Armadale Landfill and Recycling Facility, Hopkinson Road, Brookdale WA 6112||Authorised Agency|
|Flare disposal site||Broome||Department of Transport, Broome (Flare disposal)||(08) 9216 8240||No||Please call for details.||9 Napier Terrace, Broome WA 6725||Department of Transport|
|Flare disposal site||Bunbury||Department of Transport, Bunbury (Flare disposal)||(08) 9216 8200||No||Please call for details.||24 Wellington Street, Bunbury WA 6230||Department of Transport|
|Flare disposal site||Busselton||Busselton Volunteer Marine Sea Rescue Group Inc (Flare disposal)||(08) 9754 7777||(08) 9754 7775||No||Please call for details.||Georgette Street Boat Ramp, Busselton WA 6280||Authorised Agency|
|Flare disposal site||Canning Vale||City of Canning (Flare disposal)||1300 422 664||No||Please call for details.||City of Canning Transfer Station, Lot 502 Ranford Road, Canning Vale WA 6155||Authorised Agency|
|Flare disposal site||Carnarvon||Department of Transport, Carnarvon (Flare disposal)||(08) 9216 8230||No||Please call for details.||Boat Harbour, Harbour Road, Carnarvon WA 6701||Department of Transport|
|Flare disposal site||Denmark||Denmark Volunteer Sea Search & Rescue Group (Flare disposal)||0433 651 085||No||Please call for details.||Ocean Beach, Denmark WA 6333||Authorised Agency|
|Flare disposal site||Esperance||Department of Transport, Esperance (Flare disposal)||(08) 9216 8199||No||Please call for details.||Bandy Creek Road, Bandy Creek Boat Harbour, Esperance WA 6450||Department of Transport|
|Flare disposal site||Exmouth||Department of Transport, Exmouth (Flare disposal)||(08) 9216 8220||No||Please call for details.||21 Maidstone Crescent, Exmouth WA 6707||Department of Transport|
|Flare disposal site||South Fremantle||Department of Transport, Fremantle (Flare disposal)||(08) 9435 7827||No||Please call for details.||14 Capo D'Orlando Drive, South Fremantle WA 6162||Department of Transport|
|Flare disposal site||Wonthella||Department of Transport, Geraldton (Flare disposal)||(08) 9216 8170||No||Please call for details.||23 Eastward Road (corner of Pass Street), Wonthella WA 6530||Department of Transport|
|Flare disposal site||Henderson||City of Cockburn (Flare disposal)||(08) 9411 3444||No||Please call for details.||Henderson Waste Recovery Park, Rockingham Road, Henderson WA 6166||Authorised Agency|
|Flare disposal site||Hillarys||Department of Transport, Hillarys (Flare disposal)||(08) 9216 8530||No||Please call for details.||86 Southside Drive, Hillarys WA 6025||Department of Transport|
|Flare disposal site||Hopetoun||Hopetoun Sea Search and Rescue Group Inc (Flare disposal)||(08) 9838 3207||No||Please call for details.||Veal Street, Hopetoun WA 6348||Authorised Agency|
|Flare disposal site||Jurien Bay||Jurien Bay Volunteer Sea Rescue Group Inc (Flare disposal)||(08) 9652 1950||No||Please call for details.||Lot 34 Breakwater Drive, Jurien Bay WA 6516||Authorised Agency|
|Flare disposal site||Kalbarri||Kalbarri Volunteer Sea Search and Rescue Group (Flare disposal)||(08) 9937 2112||No||Please call for details.||Grey St, Kalbarri WA 6536||Authorised Agency|
|Flare disposal site||Karratha||Department of Transport, Karratha (Flare disposal)||(08) 6551 6800||No||Please call for details.||Shop 2, 20 Sharpe Avenue, Karratha WA 6714||Department of Transport|
|Flare disposal site||Kununurra||Department of Transport, Kununurra (Flare disposal)||(08) 9166 9222||No||Please call for details.||Messmate Way, Kununurra WA 6743||Department of Transport|
|Flare disposal site||Leeman||Leeman Sea Search and Rescue (Flare disposal)||(08) 9953 1164||No||Please call for details.||308 Dee Street, Leeman WA 6514||Authorised Agency|
|Flare disposal site||Mandurah||Department of Transport, Mandurah (Flare disposal)||13 11 56||No||Please call for details.||107 Breakwater Parade, Mandurah WA 6210||Department of Transport|
|Flare disposal site||Narngulu||City of Greater Geraldton (Flare disposal)||(08) 9923 3188||No||Please call for details.||Meru Waste Disposal Facility, Landfill Lane off Goulds Road, Narngulu WA 6532||Authorised Agency|
|Flare disposal site||Parklands||City of Mandurah (Flare disposal)||(08) 9550 4700||No||Please call for details.||80 Waste Management Centre, Corsican Place, Parklands WA 6210||Authorised Agency|
|Flare disposal site||Port Denison||Port Denison Volunteer Marine Sea Rescue Group Inc (Flare disposal)||0438 993 637||No||Please call for details.||Point Leander Drive, Port Denison WA 6525||Authorised Agency|
|Flare disposal site||Red Hill||Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council (Flare disposal)||(08) 9574 6235||No||Please call for details.||1094 Red Hill Waste Management Facility, Toodyay Road, Red Hill WA 6056||Authorised Agency|
|Flare disposal site||Shenton Park||Western Metropolitan Regional Council (Flare disposal)||(08) 9384 2544||No||Please call for details.||JFR (Jim) McGeough Resource Recovery Facility, Corner Brockway Road and Lemnos Street, Shenton Park WA 6008||Authorised Agency|
|Flare disposal site||South Hedland||Department of Transport South Hedland (Flare disposal)||(08) 9172 1843||No||Please call for details.||16 Brand Street, South Hedland WA 6722||Department of Transport|
|Flare disposal site||Tamala Park||Mindarie Regional Council (Flare disposal)||(08) 9306 6303||No||Please call for details.||1700 Tamala Park Waste Management Facility, Marmion Avenue, Tamala Park WA 6030||Authorised Agency|
|Flare disposal site||Toodyay||Shire of Toodyay (Flare disposal)||(08) 9574 2661||No||Please call for details.||Railway Road Transfer Station, Railway Road, Toodyay WA 6566||Authorised Agency|
|Flare disposal site||Walpole||Walpole Volunteer Marine Rescue Group Inc (Flare disposal)||0427 770 232||No||Please call for details.||Jones Road, Walpole WA 6398||Authorised Agency|
For more information on the Household Hazardous Waste Program visit the WasteNet website. This Program is administered by WALGA and funded by the Waste Authority through the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Account.
|WasteNet: Household Hazardous Waste Program|