Skip to content Skip to main navigation Skip to footer

Ocean County Program to Dispose of Boat Flares


WITH THE new boating season fast approaching, the Ocean County Board of Commissioners has announced a new program to properly dispose of old boat flares.

“Ocean County has a very large boating community and we want to offer boaters a free program that allows them to dispose of old boat flares properly,” said Ocean County Commissioner Barbara Jo Crea, liaison to the Ocean County Department of Solid Waste Management. “This new program is a cooperative effort of several Ocean County departments working together to provide a safe and convenient means of getting rid of flares.”

The program will take from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., May 6 at the Ocean County Training Center, 200 Volunteer Way, Waretown.

Flares will be accepted from Ocean County residents only. Flares from marinas and businesses will not be accepted. There will be 600 appointments available and residents can drop off a maximum of 10 flares. Program participants are asked to remain in their vehicles at all times.

Registration is required and can be done online at the Solid Waste Management homepage: or by calling (732) 506-5047.

“While all boaters are required to carry flares on their boats for safety reasons, there are very few if any avenues to dispose of them safely,” Crea said. “This pilot program will be the first residential program to dispose of marine flares in New Jersey.”

The United States Coast Guard requires all boats on intercostal and inland waters to carry a means of distress signaling suitable for night use. Regular flares are sold in packs of four and expire every four years.

The program is being overseen by the Ocean County Department of Solid Waste Management, the Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office and the Ocean County Training Center which houses the Ocean County Fire Academy.

“The staff from these various departments did a lot of research to create this pilot program,” said Deputy Director of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners Gary Quinn, who serves as liaison to the Fire Marshal’s Office and the Training Center. “We encourage our boaters to use this free disposal program.”

Agencies consulted during the planning process include the U.S. Coast Guard, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, New Jersey State Police, Marine Services Bureau, fire academies in Ocean County including Toms River and Brick Township, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Marine Trades Association of New Jersey, Sea Grant New Jersey, and other coastal communities throughout the United States including Annapolis, Maryland and California.

Ocean County received a Research, Development & Design (RD&D) permit from the NJDEP to develop the program. An open burning permit was also issued by NJDEP to comply with air quality regulations.

Quinn noted that in the past, residents were told to bring flares to fire departments or the Coast Guard. However they are no longer accepted by those agencies.

Materials that will be accepted on May 6 are Red Hand-held, Parachute, Red Meteor, Orange Smoke Signals, and Floating Orange Smoke flares.

The program will not accept road flares, electronic flares, plastic flare launchers, and other explosives.

Crea noted that often during the county’s household hazardous waste collection programs residents would either bring flares or ask about flare disposal.

“We do not accept flares at our household hazardous waste collection sites,” she said. “We do not want them dumped at the landfill or put out in recycling or trash so it was important to develop a program that addressed this.”

Director of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners Joseph H. Vicari said the program is another important step in keeping the Barnegat Bay and Ocean County’s waterways clean.

“The program will keep used flares out of the water and also help keeps our boaters safe,” Vicari said.

Vicari, who serves as liaison to Tourism, said there are about 25,000 boats registered in Ocean County.

Once collected, Ocean County will destroy the old or used flares in a container used for controlled burn at the Ocean County Training Center. This will be done under the supervision of trained personnel.