6 June 2023

Don’t be a Firestarter.
Be a Water buddy.

By Paul Knox-Johnston Sales & Marketing Manager (Marine)

Despite an adventurous youth, Buddy has grown up to be a safety-conscious penguin, which was the reason he agreed to join our little enterprise. One of his favourite subjects is proper handling of flares so lately, we’ve been in conversation with our mates at British Marine, who have highlighted the pressing issue of flare disposal. In an effort to support their endeavours in raising awareness about this important safety advice, we thought we would share their latest guidelines on the proper disposal of redundant and time-expired flares.

When it comes to maritime safety, flares play a vital role in signaling distress and attracting attention during emergency situations. However, it is important to note that flares have a limited shelf life and must be replaced before their expiry date. Time-expired flares may let you down when you need them most and malfunctioning flares may create a bigger fire issue onboard, so be sure to check their expiration dates and dispose of any that are past their best.

To protect all the buddies of the world, other marine life and their ecosystems, it is crucial to dispose of redundant flares properly rather than simply discarding them. The chemicals in flares may be harmful to both humans and the environment.

Where can I return expired flares?

Marinas and lifeboat stations often have designated drop-off locations and can ensure that flares are disposed of in a responsible manner, please check with them first.  Additionally, it is worth checking with the place you bought them from, as they may operate take-back schemes specifically for redundant flares.  Please don’t just turn up at HM Coastguard, as under the latest regulations, their collection service has been withdrawn and they no longer have the facilities nor the licence to dispose of unwanted flares. As flares are considered hazardous goods not hazardous waste, councils also do not have a requirement to provide facilities for disposal. Lastly, there are specialist companies that can provide a hazardous waste disposal service, but this comes at a cost; it is something to bear in mind if you purchase your flares online to save money, as you will not be able to return them when they are expired.

Like any safety consideration, when it comes to flare disposal, it is best to use common sense. Please don’t throw them in the bin or household rubbish and avoid leaving them unattended; it amounts to illegal dumping and you could be prosecuted.

Buddy and all of the crew at Haven Knox-Johnston know it’s important to stay informed and make sure we all follow the correct procedures regarding the safe disposal of flares. Please make sure you protect the marine environment, thank you.

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