Based on the sensitive reaction of Co(II) and salicyl fluorone with the presence of cetylpyridinium bromide in basic solution, a new method of flow injection micelle-solubilized spectrophotometry was developed for the determination of cobalt. The reaction was monitored for the absorbance of Co(II) at 540 nm. The reagents, flow injection variables and effects of foreign ions were investigated and the optimum conditions were established. At the optimum test conditions, the developed method provides a linearity range of 3–40 μg L−1 with a detection limit of 0.1 μg L−1 at about 60 h−1 sampling frequency. Relative standard deviation of 0.91, 0.95 and 0.89% were obtained for the determination of 3, 15 and 30 μg L−1 Co(II) solution. The proposed method has been successfully applied for analysis of trace amounts of cobalt in water samples.