S-O-S -- has anyone ever used it/heard of it being useful?

The notorious S-O-S mode
(sometimes it’s just S-O S-O)

Has anyone ever needed it? Used it? Heard of it being any use to anyone?

I keep wondering why it’s so often used in drivers, in so many flashlights from so many different sources.

Cross-reference, it’s been asked and answered before (no clear examples of needing the mode)


I wonder if the Titanic incident could have been avoided if the lookout had a GT to play with…

google for “2 hikers lost at Joshua Tree”…

supposedly only a 7 mile trail and rescuers were unable to locate them. Wonder if SOS mode
or strobe would’ve helped them…

I used to do off shore sailboat racing when I lived in California. We had (required) strobe lights attached to the life vests that we could easily grab and put on. In overnight races, I had a Mustang CO2 inflatable vest with strobe and whistle attached to it.

Not too long ago I read about a family who was flying their private plane to the Florida Keys. Engine failure happened in the late afternoon and they had to ditch the plane in the water. The plane sunk quickly leaving them floating on cushions and a couple life jackets. They had no strobe lights. They floated out there all night long, and could hear and see rescue helicopters and planes, but no way to signal them. They were found and rescued the next day. Had they had a simple marine strobe, or a water proof flashlight with some sort of beacon mode, they would have been rescued that evening.

We have talked about it here as well.

A blinking light will attract attention more than a steady on. IMHO we have enough other blinking modes in most driver firmware providing very useful information (like battery check) that we don’t need SOS.

I’d like to see it go away, but I don’t see it happening any time soon.

A location beacon is also much more energy efficient than SOS. Therefore in times of distress a beacon mode might be the preferred choice to use instead of an SOS signal.

Obviously i.m.o.
It’s also fun to put as many lights as you can on beacon mode. :stuck_out_tongue:

I agree, if a light has beacon, that would be the prefered mode. But even people who can’t stand “disco modes” and want none of them in their lights see the utility of a battery check that blinks out the battery level.

Furthermore, in the “if you don’t use it, you lose it” line of thinking - I don’t remember how to put any of my lights into SOS mode, but I use battery check frequently enough that my fingers know that sequence. If you are in a bad enough situation to require using SOS, chances are your cognition skills have deteriorated as well. “Make light go blinky.” may be as complex a thought as you can handle.