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Old 01-01-2009, 15:34   #1
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Old Flare Disposal

What's a good way to get rid of old flares? I've been diligently saving mine, but now my flare box is getting full and some flares date back to 1985!
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Old 01-01-2009, 15:39   #2
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We take our old ones to the local Fire station. we do keep some because they still will probably work in an emergency.
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Old 01-01-2009, 15:47   #3
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Once a year, our yacht club coordinates with USCG and we have a day of practicing with old flares. I don't think I have seen one fail, even some very out of date ones.

Gives practice and disposes of old flares.

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Old 01-01-2009, 15:55   #4
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You just missed it New Years... next up 4th of July in a safe area or keep them onboard...no experiance with old Solaris type but have had duds and near duds with 5 to 7 year old 12 gauge pistol flares...probably got moisture contaminated.

No regulation against having outdated ones onboard...just against not having current ones as well..can we have to many?...with in reason.
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Old 01-01-2009, 17:22   #5
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I've dropped mine off at a police station. Apparently they have some sort of hazardous material disposal. I think the bomb squad plays with them. Tried the Fire Dept. up here with no luck. Maybe it's a Canadian thing.
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Old 01-01-2009, 18:50   #6
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Flare practice

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Once a year, our yacht club coordinates with USCG and we have a day of practicing with old flares.
I'd like to try that. I wander if they'd coordinate with an individual...

Failing that, shooting them into the water seems relatively harmless (though probably illegal)
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Old 01-01-2009, 19:09   #7
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"Testing" (disposing) old flares

I feel that it is worthwhile, now and then, to actually try out or practice with safety gear, if possible. Since we rarely if ever (hopefully) need to use it for real, it is good if one has done it before in a practice situation. That way when you really really need it, (in the dark, under stress, with wet cold fingers) you won't have to fumble around trying to read the directions. Anyway, what I've done with expired flares is try to find some situation where I can shoot them off safely.

Unfortunately, that is not always easy to do. One certainly doesn't want to cause a false alarm rescue effort, which precludes shooting them off on the water. Even on land, hikers etc sometimes carry flares, so a false alarm could happen there as well. Also, there is the very real danger of starting a fire.

What I have done is wait until New Years Eve. Here in Alaska, close to town, on New Years Eve, with a foot or so of snow on the ground, there seems little risk of either a false alarm or fire. It is probably illegal, however, so some discretion is advised! July 4th also works, provided it has been raining a lot. I have also heard of some yacht clubs, etc, getting permits to have a "shoot off your old flares day". This would involve coordination with the Coast Guard, fire, and police departments.

As a practical matter, over the years I've found that expired sky blazers that have been carried in my sea kayak have about a 30% failure rate. A friend of mine who's work involves carrying survival kits claims that sealing them in plastic with a food sealer considerably extends their useful life, with few failures even well after the expiration date. Those kept in a dryer environment in a sailboat seem to do better, but I haven't owned the sailboat long enough to have a large enough test database.
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Old 01-01-2009, 19:14   #8
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I fired some outdated flares, testing my flare gun, after first calling the local Coast Guard staion with my intention and position. They approved and we announced the intent on the VHF. The CG had no concern and thanked me for the call. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 01-01-2009, 19:15   #9
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Old 01-01-2009, 19:43   #10
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I fired some outdated flares, testing my flare gun, after first calling the local Coast Guard station with my intention and position. They approved and we announced the intent on the VHF. The CG had no concern and thanked me for the call. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
This certainly seems the best procedure. I'll try it July 4th.
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:38   #11
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I fired some outdated flares, testing my flare gun, after first calling the local Coast Guard station with my intention and position. They approved and we announced the intent on the VHF. The CG had no concern and thanked me for the call. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew

Do NOT believe ANYONE, no matter how official appearing, that tells you that you can discharge a distress flare legally - YOU CANNOT!!!

The discharge of a visual distress signal is illegal, except in case of actual distress.

The discharge of expired flares is potentially dangerous.


Evan officially sanctioned flare training sessions generally use WHITE flares, not (red) visual distress signals.

Orion has cooperated with many States and Provinces, in sponsoring safe disposal of expired flares. In Canada, the RCMP collects the flares, for controlled destruction at Orion’s facility.

To safely dispose of expired flares:

* Contact your local public works or sanitation department to see if they'll accept flares on special household hazardous waste collection days.

* Contact local boating groups (Power Squadron, etc) to see if they accept flares for use in demonstrations or classes.

* Contact your local police or fire department to see if they can use old flares or dispose of them in burn units.
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Old 02-01-2009, 05:40   #12
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Gordy (As usual) is the sage source. Thank you. If you have ever had a USCG boat inspection you might be supprised that your old flares must be packaged separately and clearly marked as expired.

Years ago I had to throw a jackass off the dock in Ft Laud when he tried to shoot off his second 50 mm parachute flare. The first (Still glowing) nearly landed on my boat. Perhaps they do thing different north of the border.
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Old 02-01-2009, 07:44   #13
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Gord May, I certainly don't question your posted response; however, due to whatever lax authority or regional differences in policy the event I described did occur in the mid-1990's on the St. Johns River south of Jacksonville Florida with approval of the local Coast Guard. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 02-01-2009, 07:50   #14
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4th of July or New Years Eve in the back yard (2 acres with lake).

Never had a failure.

Never more than 5 years out of date.
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Old 02-01-2009, 08:10   #15
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In my area, I checked around for customers at a boat store I worked at and I could find no legal method of disposing of flares. The illegal suggestion was to soak them for several days and put them in the trash. I wonder if the trash to energy plant liked that solution.
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