Reminder: It is Illegal to Release Flares on New Year’s Eve

22 December 2011

Boaters who intend to celebrate New Year’s Eve on the Myall Lakes are reminded that it is irresponsible and illegal to release flares unless in an emergency, with unplanned bushfires possible consequences.

NSW Maritime Hunter/ Inland Regional Manager Sonia McKay said NSW Maritime Boating Safety Officers and National Parks and Wildlife Service rangers will be on the look out on the lake and in the Myall Lakes National Park for any misuse of flares over the summer season.

“Flares set off by boat users on the Myall Lakes system have caused three bushfires in Myall Lakes National Park over the past 20 years,” Ms McKay said.

“The last one was on New Year’s day in 2008.”

“Unplanned bushfires can significantly affect the park’s biodiversity, incur a very high cost to suppress the fire and present a major risk to firefighters who combat the blaze.”

It is an offence to carry or use any explosive, flare or firework in a national park (maximum penalty is $3,300). The only exception to this would be if the person is complying with NSW Maritime legislation and carrying flares as safety equipment for use in emergencies when boating.

Ms McKay said boat owners must ensure flares are replaced every three years.

“After this time, there is no guarantee they will fire when needed. Flares must be replaced before they expire and old flares, which are classed as explosives, must be disposed of properly,” Ms McKay said.

Flares can now be placed into special containers at NSW Maritime coastal service centres where they are stored for collection and transported to the Sterihealth facility at Silverwater, Sydney. The expired flares will then be destroyed at ultra-high temperature under strict environmental conditions.

For more information on when flares are required to be carried as safety equipment when boating go to http://www.maritime.nsw.gov.au/sbh/safety_equipment/safety_equipment.html

NSW Maritime is part of Roads and Maritime Services.

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