Best SOS Distress Light 2021 – The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

SOS (save our ship) is recognized as a standard international ‘morse code’ distress signal, which may be used with any signaling method. It has been used as a visual distress signal, that consists of three short, three long then again three short flashes of light. It acts as a form of a survival mirror during emergency purposes.

Some acceptable combinations of SOS include three handheld red flares, One electric distress light, and three handheld orange smoke distress signals, One handheld red flare and two parachute flares, etc.

Best SOS Distress Signal Light 2021

1. Sirius Signal SOS LED Electronic Visual Distress Signal

Sirius Signal SOS LED Electronic Visual Distress Signal with Daytime Distress Flag, and Whistle - CG ApprovedA Visual Distress Signal (VDS) is an internationally recognized safety device that is used during boating, sailing, etc. It helps others locate the boat quickly in case of any emergency. The signals may include daytime signals that are visible in sunlight and night signals that are visible in the dark. There are a wide variety of signals that can be carried to meet federal boating regulations.
The Sirius Signal eVDSD SOS C-1003 Beacon is redesigned from their Older form and is a more environmentally safe alternative to Pyrotechnic Flares. It comes in two models C-1003 SOS distress light, flag, and whistle, and C-1002 two-color SOS distress light, flag, and whistle.

Features and Specifications:

  • This Visual Distress Signal doesn’t spark up flares like the traditional ones. It is now quite family-safe and easy to use for everyone. The C-1003 is a complete abidance kit that ensures the United States Coast Guard (USCG) night and day audible distress signal issues are kept in check.
  • It is powered by a high-performance, programmable microprocessor controlling an SOS flash pattern signal, flashed through an even brighter and more potent LED. The model C-1003 has a white flashlight and the model C-1002 has dual lights including red and orange.
  • Made in the USA, this product flashes the US coast guard specified SOS signals for up to more than 60 hours which is many times longer than the USCG requirements.
  • The product includes 3 C batteries. It sends out far-fetched bright signals which are visible upto 10 nautical miles. It has an optical design that provides a vertical / one-directional light display for surface rescue craft and as a beam visible to aircraft.
  • The is the availability of an orange distress flag that fulfills the daytime signal requirements. It has a luminous intensity of 75 candelas.
  • The good quality marine whistle abides by the USCG audible signal requirements (46 CFR 175.130) for recreational marine vessels and the improved flotation(catches signals above 16 ft.) of the device keeps the signal higher up on the water surface as compared to older models.


  • Having a weight of only 15.2 ounces (0.43 kg) of the C-1003 model and 40 ounces (1.13 kg) of C-1002 models, they are quite lightweight and are easily portable devices. It is also waterproof and is therefore submersible in water
  • This new model that uses batteries instead of flare has made it more convenient to be used. It is more environment and family-friendly. It doesn’t run the risk of causing sudden accidents in the boat.
  • The updated version of the device having bright LED lights is a high tech approach to resolving marine distress signals. Since it has batteries instead of flares, which is why all it needs is replacing them instead of buying flares every 2-3 years.
  • This high tech device also has a Bluetooth connectivity option in the C-1002 model, to contact emergency services. It includes the Sirius Signal App for iOS and Android cell phones.


  • The SOS Distress light batteries need to be changed more frequently i.e within a year which is almost about three times the rate of flares. The batteries can at any point leak, corrode, or fail.
  • There are no mounting clips available, which means that one has to hold it or tie it to something. This leads to limiting the visibility of the light.

2. Orion Electronic SOS Beacon Locator Kit

Orion Electronic SOS Beacon Locator KitThe electronic SOS beacon locator flashes distress signals in Morse Code, in cases of emergencies during outdoor recreational sports, winter sports, etc. The signal flashed, is approximate twice the length of the USCG continuous run-time requirement.

The Orion Electronic SOS Beacon Locator Kit is a possible replacement for traditional flares.

They can be used both during the day or night. This device is available in durable ABS plastic unibody featuring a high visibility orange color so that one can find out quickly if the batteries need replacement.It has dimensions of 11 x 6 x 6 inches and weighs about 1.78 pounds(0.807 kg).

Features and Specifications:

  • The light source extends 4 inches above the waterline that increases visibility. It gives out bright SOS distress signals in Morse Code.
  • It maintains a constant light intensity, that is 2.5 times longer than the United States Coast Guard requirements.
  • The Signal is Visible for 3 miles based on a line of sight measurement
  • The device is waterproof and has proper on/off switches. It comes in a proper and handy packing of a reusable storage container.
  • There is provision for SOLAS Grade reflective tape at the waterline for extra visibility.
  • The device works on two cell D batteries. There is also a low battery indicator, which when turned on will quick flash for 5 seconds if the battery needs replacement. The battery compartment is also sealed with double O-Ring closures.
  • This is a US Coast Guard approved,lab-tested the device, which also has an availability of USCG-approved orange distress flag in the kit.
  • It is constructed of weather-resistant vinyl and printed with internationally recognized distress symbols with U.S. Coast Guard Requirements in “Night Vision Distress Signals” as found in the Code of Federal Regulations- 46 CFR 161.013.F and 33CFR 175.130 for Daytime Signaling.
  • The various deployment options available are – It is floatable, handheld (molded plastic grips), has low battery indicator functions.
  • The device has an encapsulated microprocessor.
  • The burn time of the device is over 50 hours of continuous operation. Orion Electronic SOS Beacon can provide upto 75 Candela of brightness.


  • It has a low battery indicator function that alerts the users before the battery is over. It helps the users to be prepared beforehand. Therefore it has high visibility, ABS plastic unibody build.
  • The bright SOS signals flashed during times of emergency can be really useful in locating the exact position of the boat. This waterproof and easy to use the device is kept on the boat as a safety tool that can be used during distress. The product is also quite well built and compact for storage.
  • The new ,technologically advanced Orion floating beacon replaces the need to buy flares every 3 years and it is also Coast Guard approved. The beacon is visible both, during day and night and has a floating ring that keeps it visible in the water. It can also be used as a hand-held beacon.


  • There is a continuous need for the replacement and regular checking on the batteries, otherwise, they will get corroded inside the device. This periodic servicing and changing of cells increase the cost of maintaining the device. There are also no options available for battery replacement.
  • The device is not quite handy, it has a poor design and is quite big and heavy for application. The rubber switches are not very nicely made and can easily break if handled roughly during crisis periods.

3. Weems & Plath C-1001 SOS Distress Light with Day Signal Flag

Weems & Plath C-1001 SOS Distress Light with Day Signal FlagWeems & Plath SOS Distress Light is an acceptable USCG approved emergency device that meets all the U.S. Coast Guard requirements. When combined with a daytime distress signal flag, that is included in the package, it meets all USCG Federal Requirements for day and night use.

It is a total replacement of traditional pyrotechnic flares. The electronic flare of this device never expires, which helps in solving the challenge of flare disposal.

It is the only Award Winning LED Visual Distress Signal Device that is used as a safety and flotation device during boating, sailing, etc. It has a weight of 14.4 ounces(0.408 kg) and has a dimension of 4 x 4 x 8.5 inches.

The LED light flashes up to 60 hours, unlike other traditional flares that last for a few minutes or less. It flashes only the SOS sequence, per USCG requirements.

Features and Specifications:

  • Weems & Plath SOS Distress Light is visible upto 10 nautical miles. The device flashes a slow SOS pattern- with a light output of 75 Candelas.
  • The device is waterproof and is submersible in water. It floats lens-up, for optimization of all-around horizontal and vertical light beams.
  • Made in the U.S.A, this device is operated by 3 C-cell alkaline batteries and flashes light for upto 60 hours. This device has a provision for daytime distress signal flags.
  • There are no expiration or disposal issues of the device because it does not consist of or produce any toxic chemical compounds or any burning waste.
  • The device is quite easy to handle as it can be operated unattended and it can also be carried on family boats without any fear of flames.
  • It complies with the USCG for day and night usage with a daytime distress signal flag- 33 CFR 175.130 and Night Visual Distress Signals as found in the Code of Federal Regulations- 46 CFR 161.013.
  • These electronic flare floats and can be hand-held, tethered, or hoisted upwards, according to one’s own convenience.


  • Weems and Plath SOS Distress Light is clearly a safer alternative to the use than any of the other pyrotechnic distress signals, as it does not include any use of flames.
  • Since the device works on batteries it is easier and less expensive to change and dispose of than the traditional ones. The device also does not produce any toxic chemical or burning wastes.
  • Weems and Plath SOS distress light is a device that is Buoyant, and lightweight and can be handheld. It floats on water and also can be tethered or placed in a position as the situation demands.
  • This device is waterproof, compact, and reliable. It is a one time purchase with no expiration date and no disposal is needed.


  • The replacement of batteries every year, which is thrice the rate of flares, is not quite light on the budget for maintenance of the device.
  • The white light that the device has does not grab as much attention as red/orange light even though it is a really bright light. The device also has slow SOS signals.
  • Weems and Plath SOS distress light does not provide the users with any mounting clips to hold the light or tie it to something. Other means of fixing the light, limits the visibility of the device.
  • The device is quite not small in size and lightweight due to the weight of several D size batteries fitted into it.

4. Lifesaving Systems Corp Sirius Long Range LED Strobe Light

Lifesaving Systems Corp Sirius Long Range LED Strobe Light - USCG Approved Signaling Strobe - Does NOT Replace Flares, Exceeds Solas Requirements - Made in USAThe Lifesaving Systems Corp Sirius Long Range LED Strobe Light is an approved strobe light for boat crew and scheduled missions of camping, hiking, etc for over 35 years. This device is approved by SOLAS (safety of life at sea) and USCG (United States Coast Guard): 161.112/109/0.

These strobe lights are effective signaling devices and have a visible range of a few miles. This device provides a focused beam strobe to reach out to searching aircraft or other surface vessels to significantly increase the probability of detection over greater distances than a standard strobe light.

Features and Specifications:

  • The device has a 7-degree spot reflector for long-range signaling with a focussed bright white beam strobe to reach out to greater distances of the aircraft.
  • The LEDs used in the strobe are 156 lumens with a Luminous efficacy of 151 lumens per watt.
  • The bright signal of the strobe lights flashes 60 times in a minute for over 18 hours and then flashes with reduced brilliance for 5+ days. These devices do not totally dismiss the need for flares.
  • The USCG approved strobe lights are visible from upto 3.5 miles depending on the surrounding atmosphere.
  • The device has an extremely tough gear and design. Weighing 2.08 ounces (0.05 kg), the Lifesaving Systems Corp lights is a survival device, designed for some of the harshest environmental conditions and critical maritime rescues. It is constructed of high strength and high visibility ABS orange plastic body. The lens is also made of high impact resistant material.
  • The device is provided with a quarter-turn tail cap for the convenient and fast-changing batteries.
  • The battery that is needed to operate this device is two AA batteries.
  • This safety device is quite reliable and simple to use. The ultimate safety lights are one chance at survival in harsh conditions. Therefore each and every strobe lights are tested thoroughly. The device is also provided with tethering cords to secure the lights in equipment pockets.


  • The strength of the strobe is quite high; the bright light helps in easy detection of the distress signals by distant aircraft or surface vessels.
  • The Long Range Strobe beam automatically resets to the device and reverts to standard distress strobe mode after ten minutes or it can be manually reset by the user.
  • The compact device has a dual-mode and cuts out on the cost of having to buy flares every 3 years. This device is USCG approved and is a good piece of safety gear for night time boat operations.
  • Changing batteries and operating the device is quite convenient due to the provision of a quarter-turn tail cap.
  • The LED flashlight is waterproof that makes it more convenient to use and tether to any suitable point.


  • Though the product claims to be providing a strobing light upto over 3 miles, many users have claimed that the pulsing light is not bright enough to be visible beyond 2 miles.
  • The device does not light all the LED’s at the same time. The two operating modes in the device are- it will either light up the two LEDs on the side simultaneously or only the one in the middle, but not all three together.
  • The device is quite handy but the diameter of the casing for the battery is not adequately spaced.

5. UST See-Me 2.0 Water Activated 45 Lumen Strobe LED Light

UST See-Me 2.0 Water Activated 45 Lumen Strobe LED Light for Emergency, Camping, Hiking, and Outdoor SurvivalThe UST See-Me 2.0 LED Strobe light used for emergency purposes is approved by the United States Coast Guard. The device automatically gets activated when brought to contact with water and also has options of manual activation with easy twist on/off switch. The device, however does not activate automatically due to rain, high humidity, or other causes.

It is a suitable safety device for outdoor adventures like hiking and sports on the water like boating, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, etc. It strobes 60 times per minute providing 45 lumens of light for maximum and distant visibility in various directions. The See-Me 2.0 Strobe is visible up to 3.1 miles on a dark but clear night, whereas USCG requirements demand only a 1 nautical mile visibility.

Features and Specifications:

  • The dimension of the device: 5.5 inches in length and 1.5 inches in width. It has a weight of about 4 ounces (0.11kg).
  • UST see-Me 2.0 Water Activated strobe LED bulb gives out 45 lumens of light.
  • The LED bulb is unbreakable, doesn’t need replacement, and flashes 60 times per minute for upto over 120 continuous hours.
  • The signal of UST See-Me 2.0 water-activated strobe light is visible upto 3.1 miles. This exceeds the United States Coast Guard requirements i.e 1 nautical mile.
  • The device gets automatically activated when submerged in water. It also has the option of manual activation with an on and off switch.
  • The device works on 2 AA alkaline batteries. It is quite durable- it is IPX7 waterproof as it can be immersed upto 1 meter in water for 30 minutes, without getting damaged.
  • The device is quite versatile as it provides a PFD clip, lanyard cord, hook, loop, etc, to ensure a secure carry and increases the accessibility.


  • The newer version of the device is easy to activate and also about twice as bright as the older version. The LED in the device is a very bright and compact emergency light that helps in pursuing adventurous expeditions.
  • The strobing light is quite handy and is therefore very easy to use. The device is also quite easy to attach due to the provision of the velcro, loop, hook, etc along with the device.
  • The automatic operation and activation of the light as soon as it is submerged in water is a very effective function of the device. It is waterproof and is quite useful during water sports, fishing, sailing, etc.
  • The device is quite durable as the LED bulb of the device is unbreakable and does not need any replacement.


  • Some users have complained of the defective life safety items i.e leaking of water under the globe that protects the strobe lamp; it is also said that the water activation light sometimes might fail to work completely and is therefore, not a very reliable option.
  • The LED placed in the device is not placed higher within the lamp that reduces the visibility of the light.
  • The light is only effective when aimed in one particular direction, unlike traditional strobe lights that could be faced upwards and would be seen from all directions i.e it would give off light at 360 degrees.

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