Put the "ing" in your Boating

Call: 519-538-2887

Call: 1-519-538-2887

flare-gunThe Canadian Government legislated that all recreational boats must carry the appropriate number of marine flares for the size of boat, but they did not include methods of disposing of the expired flares.

Boaters must replace their flares every four years, thus creating a large buildup of expired flares in storage barns, garages etc, because boaters can't find out how to dispose of them properly.

Some are doing the unthinkable....

We have heard from boaters in Ontario in several places where they have been told to "soak the flares in water overnight and put them in the regular garbage". Many flares have a waterproof coating so the water may NOT get through leaving the chemicals active. Flares are not only explosive but are also hazardous waste and, although soaking them in water could prevent them flaring up, the chemicals are still there and should not go in the regular garbage. Putting the soaked flares in the garbage could put them in contact with other chemicals, causing even more serious consequences. Gases that could be produced could also be hazardous to human health.

Explosives and hazardous chemicals as those found in flares should be handled carefully and taken to a hazardous waste site for proper disposal.

cil-skyblazer-twin-4-packAfter dozens of phone calls to people who I though should know, like our municipality, fire departments, OPP, Marinas, Power Squadrons, Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Boating Ontario, Boaters, Fisheries and Oceans, Associations, our MPP's office and the Office of Boating Safety, I was somewhat frustrated because none of them could give me a proper procedure for disposing of expired marine flares.

Believe it or not, most just said "if you find out, let me know". But I was persistent and it paid off.

CIL/Orion's Cradle to Grave Policy

Finally, The Office of Boating Safety returned my most recent call and said they had followed up on my request and found a document that would answer my questions. It was  CIL/Orion's "cradle to grave policy" for CIL/Orion Marine Distress signals. I then called the president of CIL/Orion and learned that this 2009 policy is still in effect and Canadian boaters can send CIL/Orion Flares to them for disposal. They will accept other brands of flares, but there is an additional charge.

orion-flaresThere are several brands of flares on the Canadian Market, but CIL/Orion is the only Canadian Manufacturer. They have been working with several levels of government and boating associations and police to get a proper policy in place. With so many agencies involved in the decision making, there is always one that won't co-operate so nothing gets done.

Getting permission for a state-of-the-art-disposal site is one stumbling block and the other is the gathering and shipping of the flares. For an individual boater with a few expired flares, it could cost him $50 - $70 to ship them to CIL/Orion.

Until the committee comes up with something better, it makes more sense for several boaters or even a marina or association or club to get together and split the cost of shipping expired flares back to CIL/Orion.

The Procedure for Disposing of Expired Marine Flares

So, thanks to CIL/Orion, we have a procedure for disposal of their flares. We would advise Canadian boaters to get together in groups, make a list of all the expired flares and send the list to  CIL/Orion. They will send you the right size and number of packages appropriately labeled "Explosive and Hazardous Material" for Purolator and the cost involved. Once received, you can fill the boxes then ship via Purolator to CIL/Orion.

This may not be the perfect answer, but it seems to be the best Canadian boaters have at the present time. We would recommend boaters in other countries contact the company who makes the flares and ask for a procedure to dispose of them.

Brenda Dawson

December 2011

 

 For CIL/Orion Cradle to Grave Policy and contact information, click here

Canadian Power and Sail Squadron has partnered with CIL/Orion and the Canadian Government for expired flare disposal.

Comments (21)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Why dispose of outdated flares ? Keep them in case of an emergency they may still work and more is always better in that case. I know of boaters who used all of thier up to date flares before being located and those outdated flares may have...

Why dispose of outdated flares ? Keep them in case of an emergency they may still work and more is always better in that case. I know of boaters who used all of thier up to date flares before being located and those outdated flares may have helped USCG locate them faster.

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Wait until the 4rh of July and set the flares off over and lake or pond ... no FedEx required.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Pat, <br />Unfortunately, in Canada it is illegal to set off flares in a non-emergency. We can't even use them for training purposes.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I disposed of our last expired set of flares at our OPP detatchment. Filled out and form and they accepted them.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Last time I disposed of my old flares, I simply dropped them off at a York Regional Police detachment (on their advice).<br /><br />They store them in their weapons lockup and take care disposal. <br /><br />I was a while ago now but I think they...

Last time I disposed of my old flares, I simply dropped them off at a York Regional Police detachment (on their advice).<br /><br />They store them in their weapons lockup and take care disposal. <br /><br />I was a while ago now but I think they said they use them for training purposes with the marine unit.

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Frustration beyond measure! I have taken them everywhere and none of the feckless agencies that purport to mandate anything done on the water want to have anything to do with old flares. Yet we need to replace them every four years and the stock...

Frustration beyond measure! I have taken them everywhere and none of the feckless agencies that purport to mandate anything done on the water want to have anything to do with old flares. Yet we need to replace them every four years and the stock of oldies but goodies still grows. Perhaps our government agencies north and south of the 49th could combine efforts and store these babies with some of the mothballed nukes. They’re supposed to be safely tucked away…

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Perhaps CIL/ORION should impement a program wherein the boater in need of new flares brings the expired flares to the boat supply store and he receives a nominal credit for the expired flares much like the the eturn of a spent car/boat battery...

Perhaps CIL/ORION should impement a program wherein the boater in need of new flares brings the expired flares to the boat supply store and he receives a nominal credit for the expired flares much like the the eturn of a spent car/boat battery exchange. This may lessen the illegal or dangerous disposal or discharge of these flares. There would be no question in anyone's mind when purchasing new flares as to what to do with the old ones.

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I worked offshore in the oil industry for over 30 years for a large oil company we used to have training exercises to dispose of old flares. The process was simple we contacted the USCG and notified them of our intended training schedule so they...

I worked offshore in the oil industry for over 30 years for a large oil company we used to have training exercises to dispose of old flares. The process was simple we contacted the USCG and notified them of our intended training schedule so they would not dispatch rescue equipment. They gave us a number to call prior to starting the training and then requested we call back after the training was concluded. It is always better to prepare for an emergency prior to having one. To me this was a valuable exercise and good training. I think this could be set up for the general population through the Coast Guard Auxiliary twice a year and offer other tips for safe boating at the same time. I don’t believe that even in Canada this would be illegal and could get sanctioned.

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