The USCG has approved a new SOS beacon standard that flashes red/orange, cyan, red/orange in the familiar SOS pattern. Learn to recognize it.
There is also an older standard where the flash is white-only.
Although not as bright as a flare, IMO they are more recognizable than a hand-held flare. The USCG wanted to replace flares with something safer. They also last 6-8 hours, which is a huge improvemtn over 4 x 3 minutes.
After trying to buy flares last years, and being greeted with old stock (only 24 months left), I switched to an electronic beacon. Overtime it will be cheaper, and I believe it is better.
You still need a day signal. VHS and cell phones are still important. Offshore parachute flares are still conspicuous at long range.