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News - 15/12/14

Safe disposal of flares

Dispose of old flares safelyThe arrangements for flare disposal have not altered, however, in the light of recent changes to some of the UK’s Coastguard stations we would like to alert readers to the latest information on licensed Coastguard disposal sites. For Isle of Wight residents, MRCC Solent is the nearest Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre and covers the area from Chewton Bunny (Dorset/Hampshire Border) to Beachy Belle Tout, including the Isle of Wight.

View a list of contact details for licensed Coastguard disposal sites.

HM Coastguard can still only take small numbers of flares from private individuals and only as a last resort if all other disposal methods have been exhausted. You will still need to make an appointment to drop off flares at one of the licensed sites.

Before contacting HM Coastguard try:
• The place you brought them. They may offer a ‘take back’ scheme. (The RYA advises not to buy flares from anyone who will not take old ones back from you)
• Marinas (a small charge may apply)
• Life raft service agent
• Local authority; they may be accepted at local recycling centres

If you are still unable to dispose of flares you can then contact your nearest licensed Coastguard site who will advise if they can help.

HM Coastguard does not provide a collection service and they are unable to accept flares from commercial organisations.

HM Coastguard has no responsibility for disposing of flares; they accept them at their own discretion and they only have limited storage facilities. Only some HM Coastguard locations are able to meet the requirements to be licensed to store flares.

If you do contact HM Coastguard you will be asked:
• Who you have previously contacted to arrange disposal
• How many flares you need to dispose of
• How old they are
• What condition they are in

If they can help, they will arrange for a time for you to deliver the flares. You may have to travel, or wait several weeks depending on the facilities available in your area. You should never:

• Turn up at HM Coastguard premises without prior agreement. The majority of Coastguard locations are not licensed and you will be turned away.
• Collect flares from others. HM Coastguard only accepts a reasonable number of flares from private individuals in line with the RYA’s carriage recommendations.
• Leave flares to be discovered.
• Put flares in household rubbish, garden waste or public litter bins.

Finally, it is possible that licensed flare disposal sites can be temporarily taken offline during refurbishment or decommissioning. Members of the public are not permitted on site when contractors are operating, which is another reason why it is critical that appointments are made. HM Coastguard will endeavour to bring any temporarily suspended site back on line as soon as possible.