What to do with old marine flares? Maine may have figured out an answer to the problem (photo: U.S. Coast Guard) Download hi-res photo
AUGUSTA, Maine, Feb. 20, 2019 – Maine state representative Joyce “Jay” McCreight, Maine House District 51, has introduced an act that would establish and promote a system of safe disposal for expired marine flares, potentially solving an age-old disposal issue for the Pine Tree State’s 100,000-plus registered recreational boat owners. Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) applauds the introduction of the LD 430, the Safe Disposal of Expired Marine Flares Act, and supports its passage.
A hearing to discuss the bill is slated for Monday, Feb. 25 at 1 p.m. in the Public Safety Committee Room at the Maine State House in Augusta. BoatUS urges recreational boaters to attend in support of the bill.
Due to the mandated 42-month expiration date from date of manufacture, most boaters need to replace their boat’s emergency flares after three seasons of boating. However, without a system to safely accept and dispose of outdated flares, they continue to present a safety and storage hazard for boat owners. In normal operation, flares can burn as high as 2,900 F, and they commonly contain perchlorates that are a groundwater contaminant and health hazard.
“If passed, the act would make Maine a national leader on an issue that has vexed boaters, government, and environmental advocates for decades,” said BoatUS Manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy. “It solves the huge dilemma of how to safely dispose of these hazardous materials. We applaud Rep. McCreight for this smart solution and urge the Maine Legislature to move it forward to final passage.”
The act would employ, on a voluntary basis, a network of local fire departments, marinas and municipalities, as well as groups that organize flare-disposal events to become collection points for the “timely pickup of the collected expired marine flares.” It would also provide guidance on short-term storage of flares, develop a statewide education campaign, and require nonpolluting disposal of “all types of expired marine flares.” The program would be available to recreational and commercial vessel operators.
Although the current Maine legislative session runs until mid-June, this legislation could come up for a vote in the next few weeks. If Maine boaters are unable to attend the Feb. 25 hearing in Augusta, BoatUS urges them to contact their state representative to ask them for their support and offers an easy way to do that by going to https://bit.ly/2TYH0D1.
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@BoatUS: Legislation could make Maine a leader in solving the expired-marine-flare disposal problem https://bit.ly/2BEIScT #BoatUSonWatch
About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS):
Celebrating more than 50 years, BoatUS is the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters with more than a half-million members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We are The Boat Owners Auto Club and help ensure a roadside trailer breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins. When boats break down on the water, TowBoatUS brings them safely back to the launch ramp or dock, 24/7. The BoatUS Marine Insurance Program gives boat owners affordable, specialized coverage and superior service they need. We help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the nonprofit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit BoatUS.com.