White lights are for visibility so other boats can see you, and can be required by some states as well. It is a navigation more than a distress consideration.
Distress signals are a different animal, and may have different visibility standards. That said, the link I posted and the brochure seem to have two different takes on what those criteria are. Since many of the night distress signals I see are careful to note what distance they can be seen from, flares as well as lasers, this may a point where you have to go to the original reg's to be certain rather than someone's summary.
If I did want to be seen to save my life, I would not want to rely on a signal that disappeared from view every time I was in the bottom of a wave.
YakCatcher Rod Holder
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