Replacement and Disposal of Marine Safety Products

Checking Expiration Dates

Safe replacement and disposal of pyrotechnic signaling devices begins by checking the expiration date on your product. Pyrotechnic signaling devices (including aerial flares and handheld signals) expire 42 months after the date of manufacture in accordance with the United States Coast Guard requirements. Typically, this means that you must replace your flares every three boating seasons. USCG regulations requires that each pyrotechnic signaling device must be stamped with the expiration date.

Check the expiration dates on your flares and signals as shown below. If they have expired or will expire during the boating season, you must replace them…it’s the law! In addition to printing the expiration date on individual product, Orion also prints the date on all product packaging.


To dispose of expired marine pyrotechnic distress signals, Orion recommends the following method:

  • Ignite handheld signals flares on land in a safe area, much the same as highway flares would be ignited.
  • Contact a local law enforcement or the fire protection agency for their advice on proper visual distress signal disposal.
  • Retain flares for back-up use to expand signaling time in the event of an emergency.
  • NEVER jettison visual distress signals overboard.
  • NEVER activate marine flares in a non-emergency situation on or near regulated water.
  • NEVER dispose of flares in household trash.


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