Flares and expiry…

-what to do with expired flares

Marine distress flares come with a printed expiry date. After that date they become less reliable. The boating regulations state that motor vessels must carry “in date” flares. I am often asked by boaters what they can do with expired flares. We have seen recently on the news how some soccer fans think they can be put to good use. Flares when they are ignited burn very hot and there is sometimes splatter that could injure those nearby. Flares are intended for use when at sea, are in distress, and need assistance. The physical risk to persons when using a flare is justified in the marine distress situation, and similarly it is not justified when igniting a flare in a crowd that has congregated to have a good time.

Recommended Disposal of Flares

  • The advice from Transport Safety Victoria (TSV) is to hand expired flares in to a Police Station. The problem with this, is that many police stations are not equipped with a magazine to store these.
  • The shop where you bought the flares from will have the proper storage magazine and might take the expired ones back if you are buying a new pack, Anchor Marine does.
  • Use the flares to practice igniting in controlled conditions. There is a good chance that if you are in distress and need to ignite a flare the conditions will not be ideal. It may be dark, you may have lost your glasses, and you could be cold, dehydrated, and not thinking straight. Not a good time to be reading the fine print on the outside of a flare for the first time. We highly recommend that your local boating or fishing club organize a regulated flare shoot so that you can practice with your old flares. The Ocean Racing Club of Victoria certainly does.


All the above will removing the temptation to take the marine flares to the soccer.


Holding a flare
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Pains wessex flare
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Flares at soccer
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