Expired pyro: hot topic

Hello Captain Sweeney!

   I  enjoy your mariner’s notebook and I figure you can help me with this
“hot” issue.  Who among the commercial mariners out there has not had an
experience with expired pyro?   The days of setting off expired rocket
parachute flares, handheld flares, lifeboat & bridge wing smokes, and line
throwing rockets at sea are over due to liability issues.  No fire
department wants this stuff because of the liability issues and the
potential homeland security issues.  Incasing the stuff in cement and giving
it the deep six is also out because of the plastic containers.  Disposal
ashore, while the right thing to do,  is extremely expensive…if you can
find someone willing to take the material at all.  So I ask, what do we do
with all this expired pyro?

   My suggestion is to have the manufacturer (i.e. Pains Wessex) put a code
on each piece of marine pyro sold that will allow it to be tracked at the
expiration date and have these manufacturers contract with regional shore
based disposal companies as collection areas.  A deposit would be paid at
the time of purchase to be returned at t he time of disposal; “no deposit no
return” like old soda bottles.  A value added amount could also be tacked on
at purchase to cover the disposal.  I invite you and your readers to get
“hot” on this issue.

Thanks a bunch!!

Bill Butler
Chief Mate
M/V Cape Washington
Baltimore, MD 
By Professional Mariner Staff