The Harbor Report: Some help disposing those expired flares

Have you ever been instructed by your spouse that it is your turn to cook dinner, then 4 p.m. comes around and you just realized you have not taken anything out of the freezer? You then look in the refrigerator for leftovers and your mind starts coming up with ways of scraping something together.

That's how this week's story filled my trash can at home.

There is always that object in the fridge that's been there too long, but you always have to open it up and check to see if it's still good.

Did you know that you can do your VHF radio checks on Channel 27 and automatically receive a reply back in your own voice? Channel 27 is owned by Sea Tow and they are the ones providing this service around most of the country.

Dave Beek at Island Marine Fuel told me about this service almost a year ago. It's very easy to use. Just switch the VHF radio to Channel 27A and send a message; your response will be your message followed by a short message that this service was brought to you by Sea Tow.

In my fridge you never know what you will find in the vegetable drawer, so I opened that up thinking that I might find some hazardous waste. Well, I was right.

Rather than just shut the drawer as quickly as I had opened it, I thought I had better take the time to dispose of it properly.

This question came from my friend Paul Blank, the Balboa Yacht Club's Fleet Captain:

"Hey, Len:

I have had a frustrating time disposing of the expired flares that I recently replaced on my boat. It's not easy disposing of old flares in Orange County.

1) West Marine and other suppliers won't take old ones, but will happily sell you new ones.

2) The Harbor Patrol won't take them (or wouldn't take them from me).

3) The Coast Guard in O.C. won't take them.

4) The Newport Beach Fire Department won't take them.

5) The O.C. Fire Authority won't take them.

6) There is a guy in the Coast Guard Auxiliary who takes a limited number of them for use in the "Safety at Sea" seminars he teaches.

7) I have a call into the O.C. Hazardous Waste Authority (or some such organization) and am waiting for a call back from supposedly "the one person in O.C." who knows how this stuff can be disposed of. I'm not holding my breath waiting on that call — it's been more than 24 hours.

Both No. 1 and No. 6 above encouraged me to keep my expired flares on board with the reasoning that they will still work even though they are expired. This is, of course, in addition to maintaining the new flares I purchased to comply with USCG and ISAF regulations/laws.

While I can understand the logic and common sense of this direction, this cycle eventually gets ridiculous if old flares are never removed.

I explained to both parties that on a racing sailboat both space and weight are at a premium.

I implored them both for a solution that would allow boaters to remain compliant with the law and not clutter their lockers or be needlessly redundant.

Both were incredulous.


The answer is Rainbow Disposal at 17121 Nichols Lane in Huntington Beach, or call them at (714) 847-3581. Go to Gate No. 6 and they will take them from you for free. Rainbow can also take up to 25 gallons of toxic fluids you might find in you bilge, like diesel, gas, coolant, etc. There might be a cost for this service.

One would have to think that a large percentage of people would just hide this hazardous waste and just dump it. This leads me to the idea that maybe the city of Newport Beach should have some sort of hazardous waste disposal site around the harbor.

I did find a couple of good items in the fridge. The guest slips behind SOL Cocina will be more accessible soon, and I made some good progress with Gil at Nikki's flags in producing a burgee for the Newport Harbor's PHRF High Point series. The first race of that series is this week's Mid Winters that sailed out of the American Legion Yacht Club.

Sea Ya!

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

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