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Your old Flares

Discussion in 'Boat Owning, Equipment and Maintenance' started by gibberfish, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. Mr Fish

    Mr Fish Member

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    Ok... It's time to replace the flares. I was aware not many places take them now, but only found out today there's a handful of coastguard stations in the UK that take them.
    Brixham is closest to me, but still a long drive, prob £50 of fuel.
    Err, sorry, no.

    What's more, they're planning to close Brixham, so that leaves... what?

    Dont worry, I wont be dumping them or letting them off - worst case they'll sit in the cupboard.

    It just seems ridiculous though that everyone constantly bangs on about safety, essential kit, etc etc (which I fully agree with, of course) but then there's no recourse for ordinary members of the public to safely dispose of the damn things.

    If anyone has ANY up to date info (I've checked the links above) on something a little more practical, I'd very much love to hear it, please.
     
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  3. Cascars

    Cascars Boat Moderator
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    I wonder if it is worth asking at your nearest Fire Station?
     
  4. Mr Fish

    Mr Fish Member

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    Hmm, official answer seems to be your "local" (ha) pyrotechnic disposal station (whatever the blooming official name for em is) or nothing...

    Just run a search and there's all sorts of answers from keep em, they'll work to "wait for Nov 5th" (sigh) to "leave em in water for a month and then bury".
    None of which leave me too encouraged.

    I'm not sure the fire service would/could deal with them, but worth an ask.
    I know some local police and military, so will have an informal chat with them and see if they have any suggestions.
    There might be an off the record "under the counter" way they'll take them and quietly get rid of em with the rest of the outdated ordnance.

    Mind you, knowing the Marines, they'll probably get drunk and play naked tennis with em, but that's up to them!
     
  5. Mr Fish

    Mr Fish Member

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    No one looks at the stickie up the top... :cry::cry::cry:
     
  6. flappyfish

    flappyfish Member

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    my old flares are coming back into fashion...
     
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  7. pigtin

    pigtin Member

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    Heard somewhere they are having another firearms amnesty... could they refuse to take them?
     
  8. MICKJAMES

    MICKJAMES Member

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    Those of you that live or keep boats near Weymouth or Portland,can take your old flares to the new owner of chandlers at Portland marina.
    As long as you buy new pack from him ,he has told me he will legally dispose of them for you.

    Mick
     
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  9. pigtin

    pigtin Member

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    About 5 years ago a mate gave me a package as he left."Got rid of my boat years ago,you can have these," he said. I opened the package later an found I was now the owner of 6 flares, 20 years out of date...

    That's the way to get rid of them...
     
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  10. cheapskate

    cheapskate Member

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    Just got back from a local sporting auction,
    there was a bag of 5 red flares and a hand held orange smoke all clearly marked "expiry date April 2000" for sale
    not sure how much they made but lots of people looking at them,
     
  11. bassman1982

    bassman1982 Member

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    Out of date flares are ok but there just wont be as bright as new ones, I got rid of my old smoke during one night out on the boat, but the hand held and parachute flares I took to the police and they burn them in an incinerator.

    Just remember they come under the fire arms act
     
  12. BrianR

    BrianR Member

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    They were breaking the law.
    It isn't even legal to sell flares at boat jumbles.

    The explosives act of 1875 makes it illegal to sell pyrotechnics from any temporary stand.
     
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  13. kennythejoiner

    kennythejoiner Member

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    For yours and anyone out with you safety that's a bold statement when life's are at risk
     
  14. Clinker

    Clinker Member

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    The the loss of brightness thing applies to smoke flares, but expired rocket flares can suffer corroision which can cause them to explode in your hand if fired - best to get rid of rocket flares and do them the proper way by either taking them to a chandler who has a return arrangement or one of the accredited CG stations - or if you're near to Poole the Lifeboat HQ is also accredited to take them - don't just turn up though, phone to make an appointment (applies to the CG stations too).
     
  15. Cascars

    Cascars Boat Moderator
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    I renew my flares as soon as they go out of date, but keep the previous set to use first (should the need arise). A few years back I had some that were 10 years out of date which I set off in the garden on bonfire night (I live 30 miles inland so no worries about alerting the coastguard!). They all worked with no issues at all, but I would not want to trust them if my life depended on it:eek:
    Flares should never be set off on a boat, or anywhere near the coast or major inland waterway, except in a an emergency situation.

    PS. Perhaps I should explain that I would not set off flares in the garden now. It was an experiment to see if they would still work. As a firearms certificate holder, I will ask my FAO next time I speak to him what he would suggest doing with the old ones.
     
  16. Cascars

    Cascars Boat Moderator
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    To help prevent any corrosion I keep mine in a proper screw top flare tub, but also keep one of those anti condensation bags designed for cars in with them.
     
  17. jrs54

    jrs54 Member

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  18. headlight

    headlight Member

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    My flares (Offshore pack) are due for renewal at the end of this month.
    After speaking to my local chandler, CG, RNLI & police it would seem that the closest place that I can take them is 90 miles away.
    Speaking to the RNLI they said what they considered essential safety items in order of preference were Life Jacket, VHF, PLB then flares.
    Based on this & the fact that for flares to be effective someone has to be looking in the direction of the flare for the 60 second burn duration, & know what to do, & the fact that I am regularly further away from land or other boats than flares can actually be seen I made the decision not to renew my offshore flare pack & instead buy a PLB (GPS).
    I have 2 fixed DSC VHF"s on the boat, a hand held water proof VHF on the auto inflate LJ"s with hood, crotch straps, light & whistle & now a PLB.
    I carry a hand held smoke flare on the LJ but will not bother buying a new flare pack .
    Not trying to say that I am right in what I am doing (every one has to make their own decisions where their safety is concerned) but after giving it thought it is what I have done in respect of my own safety at sea.

    headlight
     
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  19. Clinker

    Clinker Member

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    I also considered not renewing my flare pack after getting a PLB - as you say they're almost getting to be the 'last resort' now - the time I could see a flare being useful though is if I could see another boat within easy distance, so I did get another pack - expires end of next year so I will be asking myself the same question all over again!

    Like Cascars, I keep mine in a container and another tip I was given from the RNLI is on a planing boat to wrap them in bubble wrap - extra protection for the casings from any slamming - and to keep a gardening glove in the pack - I let off a red hand held in the days when the RNLI did flare demos and those things get really hot!
     
  20. sniggle

    sniggle Member

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    I know someone who let off an orange smoke in his garden on nov 5th, he reckoned that it made a right mess of the nearby fence panels so be warned.;)
     
  21. headlight

    headlight Member

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    Mine are in a waterproof screw top container bolted to the outside of my cabin door so in easy reach & are a "snug" fit so no chance of damage from slamming.
    Like Cascars I also have a sachet of silica granules in there to stop damp affecting them.
    My flares have a use by date of Dec 2014 & I don"t think for one minute that come 1/1/2015 they will suddenly stop working I just think, like you, that with the advances in electronic safety kit they are now well down the list (as confirmed to me by the RNLI who don"t rate flares at all by what I was told as they are short duration & rely on somebody else).
    I would much rather rely on the CG picking up my VHF distress call or professionals at Falmouth picking up my PLB transmission rather than rely on somebody out walking their dog.
    The only situation I can see a flare being useful is like you when another boat is nearby.
    As I said I am not recommending that others copy me just that this is what I have done.
    I must admit though that bearing in mind the size of Cardiff & the number of boats moored there (easily 1,000 meaning that every year at least 200 flare packs will go out of date assuming all boats have them) I am surprised that the nearest place to dispose of flares is 90 miles away.

    headlight
     
  22. Tim R

    Tim R Member

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    Possibly a contentious thought but....

    Are flares actually worthwhile now in the 21st Century? On most small pleasure boats we have a radio with the ability to transmit an automatic distress location, a spare handheld radio, electric lights, portable lights, lifejackets (many incorporating lights), most crew members will have a mobile phone some of which will have location finders. Are pyro-technic flares actually still relevant and necessary?

    Having said that I still plan to replace my out-of-date ones with fresh but only because I like to be belts and braces!

    Tim R
     
  23. 240z

    240z Member

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    Mine are onboard but now out of date and will not be replacing them
     
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