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What To Do About Time Expired Flares?

23rd April 2021
The RYA is warning that if a boatowner carries flares, they'd better budget for the cost of eventual disposal
The RYA is warning that if a boatowner carries flares, they'd better budget for the cost of eventual disposal. A new scheme has been set. up to deal with 'TEP's by the Dept of Transport

Reviewing the equipment on my Sigma 33. Scribbler, before launching this year, I've been wondering about flares.

I don't have any needing disposal at present, but I've been following the debate in the UK where the Royal Yachting Association has said that "it is worth looking again at effective alternatives that might replace them altogether".

I looked up the coastal safety website of the MCA there – the Maritime and Coastguard Agency – which didn't mention flares. The RYA has highlighted that.

The yachting association takes the view that anyone carrying flares who is not compelled to do so – and that's only for over 45-footers in the UK – should pay for their disposal.

"It is not our intention to prevent those who carry flares as part of their safety equipment from doing so, but in every other area of society, the holders of hazardous waste, which out-of-date flares are classified as, are expected to dispose of it legally and responsibly." The RYA is warning that if a boatowner carries flares, they'd better budget for the cost of eventual disposal.

The RYA is warning that if a boatowner carries flares, they'd better budget for the cost of eventual disposal

That echoes the UK Department of Transport which closed a consultation on flares last month, making it clear that it favours the 'polluter pays principle to dispose of flares.

In March last year, the UK MCA renewed its advice to yacht owners to carry flares for use in an emergency, rather than using Electronic Visual Distress Signals. It says it has been spending €250,000 sterling a year for a free flares disposal service, the contract for which will expire in December. But its figures show that when it started disposing of flares free it dealt with 60,000 a year but that number has dropped to less than 12,000.

As what happens in the UK often impacts here, I asked our Department of Transport, it having responsibility for the Coast Guard here - What are the existing provisions/arrangements for the safe disposal of out-of-date flares by owners of yachts/motorboats in the leisure sphere?

Marine Notice No.13, amended last October, detailing its scheme for the safe disposal of 'time-expired' flares

The Department's Press Office sent me Marine Notice No.13, amended last October, detailing its scheme for the safe disposal of 'time-expired' flares and listing eight chandlers in Clare, Cork, Donegal and Dublin where they may be taken.

They are Derg Marine in Killaloe; CH Marine in Skibbereen and Cork City; Union Chandlery, Cork; Swan Net Gundry, Castletownbere; Atlantic Marine Supplies and Swan Net Gundry in Killybegs; O'Sullivan Marine in Rathcoole, Dublin and Solas Marine in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Download the full notice here

That is good to know. My concern about flares is eased.

Podcast below

Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for Afloat.ie. He also presents the radio programme Maritime Ireland on radio stations around Ireland.

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