Sea Tow helping guide new flare disposal program, coming next year

What to do with expired flares? Timeless question. In Florida, municipal landfills with household hazardous materials drop stations commonly accept them, if you make the time to drop them off in person. (While you’re at it, bring along your used motor oil, old paint cans, worn out batteries, etc.) Never throw old flares into a trash can—and don’t go setting them off around the neighborhood; the burning slag they produce is a major fire hazard.

There could be another safe, convenient disposal option coming to town, thanks to a grant recently awarded The Sea Tow Foundation, to start an official Flare Disposal Program. Funding comes by way of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Sport Fish Restoration & Boating Trust Fund. The Sea Tow Foundation proposed working with the USCG to develop a flare disposal pilot program for boaters in Florida. This pilot program would utilize a mobile incineration unit that would traverse Florida over the 2021 year to safely dispose of flares collected at events around the state. “While flare disposal is not part of a boater’s legal responsibility, it does affect the environment when not disposed of properly,” stated Gail R. Kulp, Sea Tow Foundation’s Executive Director. She added, “Not disposing of flares properly can also impact the safety of boaters if expired flares are stored on board boats.” Plans for the flare disposal program are still in the early stages, as this grant project just started July 1st, but has been created and will have more information as it becomes available

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