Pyrotechnic Flares

For generations, boaters have relied on pyrotechnic flares to signal for help on the water. Luckily for boaters (and the environment) this has changed with the introduction of electronic flares – a much safer, greener choice.

*NOTE: there are many hand-held strobes, lasers, and LED products available, but not all meet the U.S. Coast Guards requirement for nighttime distress signals.

Ironically, pyrotechnic flares are associated with the idea of safety. Although there are no official statistics that tally incidences of bodily harm caused by lit flares, plenty of stories have been shared on the topic. There are accounts of flares being used as weapons, mishandled flares causing fire aboard, flares not working properly due to moisture damage, and more.

Flares are certainly not safe for family use and they are not safe for the environment. They contain Perchlorate – a toxic chemical used to support a burning fire. This chemical is not only dangerously flammable when lit, but there is also new technology that has shown that trace amounts of this chemical can be found in our water and it can negatively affect our health.

A 2005 study by the State of Rhode Island determined that just one improperly disposed-of flare can contaminate about 240,000 gallons of water.

Road Flare 2A high exposure level of Perchlorate can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb iodine, which has a negative impact on the thyroid over time. The most common source of exposure to Perchlorates is through the consumption of drinking water by leaching through soil. (Trumpolt, C.W. )

Please email Weems & Plath at with information about hazmat or law enforcement locations that you know accept flares. Let’s work together to solve this problem.

Follow our blog to get notified when “It’s Not Easy Being Green: PART 2 – Flare Disposals” is published next week!


Written by Cathie Trogdon

Posted by blognewsweemsplath

At Weems & Plath, we take great pride in manufacturing time-tested nautical instruments for safe and enjoyable boating. Since 1928 we have successfully navigated the waters of changing times by keeping our customers at the forefront of thought. Our longevity is due to our commitment to you as we provide top quality products with exceptional warranties to back them up.

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