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I have an old Olin Flare kit that I am replacing flares and shells. The old ones are dated 1988 and several are already leaking propellant. What is the proper way to dispose of these items?
 

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Not speaking from experience or anything...

Getting hammered and shooting them at a campfire is NOT the recommended disposal method (they ricochet)
 

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if they were still in good condition I would say take them out to a ranch (when there is not a burn ban like there is in houston) and shoot them off for july 4th. but since the're not ask someone at a place they sell them at and they might tell you. also lots of recycleing places will accept old car batterys, motor oil, old bullets etc... so try those
 

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Your local USCG station should have an orange dumpster in their parking lot where they accept used pyrotechnics, or some other program to take them.

If not, go to your local FD who will probably tell you to soak them in a bucket of water then thrwo them out.

Those that are not damaged are usually fired off on the 4th of July or other holidays for the purpose of getting familiar with pyros. You'd be surprised at how wimpy they are.

For future use, you might prefer to stow all your pyros in an airtight container--not the pretty orange junk usually sold with them, but a metal ammunition can or similar. When they are stowed air-tight, they essentially don't degrade and the outdated ones become useful spares.

Our pyro tin is an ammunition can, repainted gloss white then international orange, so it is quite visible. It is labelled as such, with an inventory listed on it, and the caution "DO NOT OPEN EXCEPT IN EMERGENCY".

The metal can also gives you extra protection against one going off by itself from spontaneous combustion--which combustibles sometimes do.
 

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Those that are not damaged are usually fired off on the 4th of July or other holidays for the purpose of getting familiar with pyros. You'd be surprised at how wimpy they are.
Don't do it! Read this, from the US Coast Guard web site:

"The limited resources of the Coast Guard, along with the increase of maritime traffic on the Fourth of July, means the firing of a flare could result in a delayed response to legitimate emergency situations on the water. Firing a flare when not in distress could result in a Class D felony charge, six years in prison, up to $250,000 in fines and reimbursement of all costs the Coast Guard incurs as a result of the false distress."
 

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Old Fart
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Not speaking from experience or anything...

Getting hammered and shooting them at a campfire is NOT the recommended disposal method (they ricochet)
They ricochet? Hmmm, sure sounds like the voice of experience! :)

In any event, there may be an outdoor group in your area that will take them and use them, as one in our area does, to fire off in a demonstration class once a year. It truly is amazing how little and wimpy the 12 gauge flares are when seen from a hundred yards away, let along a mile away. Check with your local marine store to see if they know of any.
 

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I have a question.
Why dispose of an out of date Flare?
I always keep fresh ones on board that are with in date, (we just volunteered for an aux inspection and we were 100% compliant) but when the old ones expire, I keep them on board. Just in case. I mean, do you think there not going to fire? Are they any more dangerous to have around?<O:p</O:p
My thinking is the more the better. I keep them on board.
Please if I am doing something wrong or illegal let me know.<O:p</O:p
If they are in good shape and show no sign of deterioration, why dispose of them other than the fact that they date syas Oct 2008?
Keep up to date Flares on board and the expired ones I keep as back up.
Is this not sound thinking?<O:p</O:p
 

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Telstar 28
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If they are SOLAS flares, this is an excellent idea. At the last Safety At Sea seminar I attended, they fired off some expired SOLAS flares, including some that were 15 years past their expiration date, and they were better than brand new USCG flares. :)

As long as they're in good shape and not deteriorating... go for it.

I have a question.
Why dispose of an out of date Flare?
I always keep fresh ones on board that are with in date, (we just volunteered for an aux inspection and we were 100% compliant) but when the old ones expire, I keep them on board. Just in case. I mean, do you think there not going to fire? Are they any more dangerous to have around?<o>:p</o>:p
My thinking is the more the better. I keep them on board.
Please if I am doing something wrong or illegal let me know.<o>:p</o>:p
If they are in good shape and show no sign of deterioration, why dispose of them other than the fact that they date syas Oct 2008?
Keep up to date Flares on board and the expired ones I keep as back up.
Is this not sound thinking?<o>:p</o>:p
 

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jv, sometimes you need to put things in context.

No, you wouldn't fire off flares just for the hell of it while out on the water--or anyplace else the USCG might be confused by them. What you do is fire them off someplace where there is no USCG presence or response (like at a park where fireworks are being shot off) OR YOU CONTACT THE USCG as per standard procedure and tell the local station "we are firing practice flares at xx o'clock, please be advised".

"Firing a flare when not in distress could result" Key word is "could". You could also put out your eye if you were looking down the barrel at the time you shot it off. But there's nothing absolutely criminal or illegal about just firing the things off--with a little common sense.

Any sailor who has never fired off their Olins can never understand why SOLAS flares are so hugely overpriced. Fire a SOLAS flare, and you'll feel like a real moron for having carried the Olins for all these years.
 

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Telstar 28
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SOLAS flares are really the only flares you should be carrying if you're hoping to be rescued. The SOLAS flares, both handheld and aerial, are orders of magnitude better than the USCG ones, in terms of visibility, duration and safety. For instance, USCG handheld flares can drop hot slag...which isn't such a good idea on a fiberglass boat, but SOLAS flares will not.
Any sailor who has never fired off their Olins can never understand why SOLAS flares are so hugely overpriced. Fire a SOLAS flare, and you'll feel like a real moron for having carried the Olins for all these years.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have a question.
Why dispose of an out of date Flare?
I always keep fresh ones on board that are with in date, (we just volunteered for an aux inspection and we were 100% compliant) but when the old ones expire, I keep them on board. Just in case. I mean, do you think there not going to fire? Are they any more dangerous to have around?<O:p</O:p
My thinking is the more the better. I keep them on board.
Please if I am doing something wrong or illegal let me know.<O:p</O:p
If they are in good shape and show no sign of deterioration, why dispose of them other than the fact that they date syas Oct 2008?
Keep up to date Flares on board and the expired ones I keep as back up.
Is this not sound thinking?<O:p</O:p
I have done a bit more research after my initial question here. Yup.. I'm smart enough to know that I should call the local FD or PD, however they don't take these here in my area. I did find out that the local West Marine had a disposal and demo day last week and they do this periodically.

As for why I'd like to get rid of the mountains of propellant stored on my boat by the many owners over the years... Well I could actually float it out there and light it up like a Greek Funeral Pyer. In my original question I explained that I had some that were leaking propellant already and needed disposed of. Of course I'll keep any that I feel are adequate for spares, but the bad ones are bad and I have no need to keep them on my boat or in my garage at home.

Additionally this is becoming a major problem in some jurisdictions as every recreational boater is required to have some kind of signaling devices and after a period of time either need to be replaced or destroyed. Unfortunately many wind up in the bay or other waters, others end up in the landfill or buried in the backyard. None of these are the greatest way to get rid of the chemicals in these flares. I'm still waiting back for a phone call from a local PD to see if they can take them... or I'll just wait until West Marine does another Flare Demo day.

Cheers --- Roman Candles ---- Cool Fireworks :eek: :eek: :eek:
 

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SOLAS flares are really the only flares you should be carrying if you're hoping to be rescued. The SOLAS flares, both handheld and aerial, are orders of magnitude better than the USCG ones, in terms of visibility, duration and safety. For instance, USCG handheld flares can drop hot slag...which isn't such a good idea on a fiberglass boat, but SOLAS flares will not.
On Lake Ontario, the vast majority of the recreational sailors carry Olin or Orion flares, or so I have seen. So do I. It makes sense that quantity trumps quality, particularly as there is generally the traffic and the SAR resources to be seen fairly rapidly. Also, nav station VHF in the middle of the lake can generally raise both US and Canadian CGs.

However, at sea we will bite the bullet (pun intended) and go with all SOLAS. I recall a "flare-off" some years back when we alerted the local water cops that we were disposing of about eight packs of 1980s-vintage shells (which still got about an 80% "success" rate) and two Paine-Wessex parachute flares.

The P-Ws, both of which were 20-plus years old, both fired successfully and were several orders of magnitude brighter and of longer duration than anything from Olin's stock kits. About the only brighter thing I've seen is the larger calibre of Very pistol shell, but they only last five seconds or so.
 

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Olins and Orions are such that a single SOLAS parachute might succeed better than several of them...
 

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With four decades of cruising we've accumulated and disposed of many flares. Most recently, I took an old collection of various flare to a local fire department that accepted them without question. I have also given my older flares to other boaters who wanted them as a "backup" supply. I have also done what I've been told doesn't happen,- call the Coast Guard on my VHF and state my location with the request that I be allowed to test fire some older flares. Either there are different implementations of USCG policies in different parts of the country or there have been recent changes in a uniform policy, but I have been granted USCG permission to fire these old flares on more than one ocassion. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
 

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On this day (July 3) several years ago, I contacted our local USCG station and inquired about the possibilty of undertaking crew training in the use of flares on the evening of July 4. They saw no problem with that and requested that I call their duty officer prior to launching any of the flares to tell them the number, type and location of flares I would be using.

After our town's July 4 fireworks display, I took several of my regular crew members way out on the tidal flats, called the local USCG station and requested permission to do some live fire training.

Permission was granted and we launched several red flares and tried out several red and white hand-held flares. It was good practice and I thought a good use of expired flares.

I should note that we didn't fire off any of the SOLAS parachute flares as I was concerned that they might drift back over the town.
 
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