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Old 04-05-2010
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Disposal/Use of Old Flares

Getting ready for my upcoming cruise, I'm sorting out my flares. The issue is what to do with the old ones. A google search reveals conflicting opinions. Some say keep them as backup, others say they're either duds or could hurt your body in assorted ways.

Next, if you're going to trash them, who'll take them? Here in Corpus Christi the fire station won't take them any more. It's illegal and dangerous to shoot them off, deep-six them, or toss them in the trash. So...

Karl
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Old 04-05-2010
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I used to take old flares to the 4th of July fireworks at the beach, just watch out for any nearby boats. Nowadays, I don't know wha the legality of firing such off may be, if the USCG doesn't care, the local police may.
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Old 04-05-2010
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Technically not supposed to fire them off in the absence of an emergency. (Although I could see the usefulness of lighting one in an isolated area if you and/or your crew have never used one before.)

Best thing to do would probably be to contact your area CG and see what they suggest. The local CG Auxiliary unit may take them for demo use.

Most towns/counties have a periodic hazardous waste collection day where they take items they don't usually accept at the dump, like batteries, oil, etc. That might be one possibility.
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Last edited by SecondWindNC; 04-13-2010 at 07:07 AM. Reason: nonsense
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Old 04-05-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SecondWindNC View Post
Don't keep them as backups. It's actually against regs to have expired flares on the boat.
They are fine to keep on the boat in Canada, no problem here. How to get rid of them varies by region so one does have to make inquiries.

Victoria day is coming up so there will be options to use the hand helds but be sure to check with local authorities before using a launcher. Also keep in mind that they can last longer and drift farther than most fireworks. Great firestarters...of course that is not always a good thing.
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Old 04-05-2010
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One info item. While researching this issue, I discovered Pains Wessex did a recall on its handheld white collision warning flares due to a personal injury, I believe. No other flares are impacted.

Of course, I have 4 expired ones on the boat.

Karl
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Old 04-05-2010
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Old 04-05-2010
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Most communities have a hazardous waste disposal program that will accept and discard old flares and fire works. On the matter of whether to keep them, I asked a CG officer about it during a safety presentation at our club a few years ago and his response was that it was up to me so long as I had an adaquate supply of up-to-date flares.

Note, however, that one of the flare manufacturers recently had a blurb concerning old flares expanding somewhat which may cause the shells to become lodged in the firing chamber. I have also seen the brass ends of percussion caps from old flares become lodged on the firing pin of a 25mm flare pistol which, of course, prevents subsequent shells from firing. Accordingly, we do not retain flares more than 6 years old although, short of the mis-fires described above, I have never had any that failed to work.

FWIW...
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Old 04-05-2010
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Y'all should be aware that flare pistols and their ammo are illegal in the Turks and Caicos Islands. They are considered firearms.
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Old 04-06-2010
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Our local cruising club has an annual rendezvous during which we have a "safety practice session" or some such which has been cleared well in advance with the CG, local Marine patrol, police, sheriff and (these days) probably Homeland Security as well. Despite the hassles we continue the tradition because it is really helpful to have actually fired various types of flares before you know what hits the fan.

Plus we get to shoot off explosives!

Jay

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Old 04-11-2010
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My local West Marine will take them off your hands. I think it is a general West Marine policy.
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