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California boaters can drop off expired flares at upcoming collection events

by BoatUS 25 Aug 2023 15:26 PDT
California boaters can properly dispose of marine flares at collection events © Vivian Matuk, California State Parks and California Coastal Commission

Marine flares are required to be carried aboard recreational boats for emergency signaling. However, because they expire 42 months after manufacture, they need to be replaced about every three seasons of boating.

A 2012 study found that California boaters generate 174,000 expired pyrotechnic marine flares every year, an explosive hazardous waste that contains toxic chemicals such as perchlorate. Now Southern and Northern California boaters have the opportunity to safely dispose of expired flares at upcoming marine flare collection events in September.

Saturday, September 9: Residents who own or berth boats in the City of Oceanside and Port of Los Angeles can drop off flares at the following two locations:

1850 N. Harbor Dr., Oceanside, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Cabrillo Way Marina, 2293 Miner St., Lot G, San Pedro, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Saturday, September 16: Residents who own or berth boats in Del Norte and Humboldt counties can drop off flares at 1700 State St., Crescent City, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sunday, September 17: Residents who own or berth boats in Marin County can drop off flares at Clipper Yacht Harbor, 310 Harbor Dr., Sausalito, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS) is urging boaters in these areas to take advantage of these important events.

"California is setting the example for other states on how to solve the long-running problem of expired marine flare disposal, and it is important boaters take advantage of these opportunities," said BoatUS Manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy.

Proof of eligibility (driver's license or boat registration) is required. As an incentive, boaters dropping off expired flares will be offered a free (while supplies last) electronic Visual Distress Signal (eVDS) that can help eliminate the expired flare disposal challenge.

The expired marine flare collection event is offered by Alameda County, Delta Diablo, Del Norte County, West Contra Costa, Marin County, City of Oceanside, Port of Los Angeles and the California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC) in partnership with CalRecycle, California State Parks and the California Coastal Commission California Boating Clean and Green Program. Go to to learn more.

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