SeaTow Receives Funding For Flare Disposal Program

The Sea Tow Foundation, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the education and awareness of safe boating practices, was awarded a new grant from the Sport Fish Restoration & Boating Trust Fund to conduct a flare disposal program.

The Sea Tow Foundation proposed working with the U.S. Coast Guard (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.

A flare is a pyrotechnic type of visual distress signal that all boaters are required by the USCG to carry both day and night any time they are operating on coastal waters, the Great Lakes or on the waters connecting to these areas.

Flares expire after 42 months and must be replaced to meet the USCG’s carriage requirements. Simply throwing expired flares in the trash would be an environmental and health hazard as they contain highly toxic chemicals such as perchlorate. There is no single agency or organization handling the disposal of unwanted/expired flares in the U.S. There are also unclear requirements at the state level about how flares should be disposed of properly.

Plans for the flare disposal program are still in the early stages as this grant project started July 1, but has been created and will have more information as it becomes available.