This story by Deborah Bach over at Three Sheets Northwest got me thinking. What do talented Navagear readers suggest we do with our expired flares? Have at it in the comments!
U.S. Coast Guard rules clearly require that commercial and recreational boats carry flares on most waterways.But how boaters should legally dispose of expired flares is a much murkier issue, as one Seattle couple recently discovered.
Heidi and Kirk Hackler, who live aboard their sailboat, were cleaning out their house to put it on the market and discovered a milk crate full of expired flares in their garage.
Heidi searched online but couldn’t find a solution. The Coast Guard doesn’t accept expired flares, nor does the King County hazardous waste program or the Seattle Police Department’s Harbor Patrol Unit.
Hackler tried taking the flares to a transfer station but was turned away. She went to Fisheries Supply but couldn’t get an answer. Frustrated, she drove to the nearest fire station. The supervisor there, she said, told her they normally don’t accept flares but would take them off her hands.
But Hackler wonders where that leaves other boaters with expired flares.
“I think it’s a huge, huge problem,” she said. “Everyone has to have flares, even small boats. Are people just throwing [expired flares] in the garbage, or what do they do with them?”