HAZARDOUS MATERIAL found object ~for this week!

military underwater flare markers found on our beach this weekend

Corey wins for best beachcombed treasure this weekend! A quick google search found me this:

Product Name: Marine Location Marker (On Water Flare and Smoke Generator)
The Marine Location Marker is a buoyant device which is designed to be released from helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft to indicate position in the sea. The device emits a high intensity yellow flame and white smoke for 13.5 to 20 minutes. The Marker, Location Marine is sea or fresh water activated and can be purchased in two packaging options, Sceptre sealed container or Fibreboard box, in either case the product is vacuum sealed and has a tamper seal on the base 

then this website with MUCH more detail: http://www.navy.forces.gc.ca/marpac/4/4-w_eng.asp?id=691

The C2A1 Marker Location Marine (MLM) is a buoyant smoke and flame-producing device that is used by ships and aircraft as a positional marker on the water surface.  The MLM is designed to sink to the ocean floor after it has been expended.  However, a small number of MLMs do not completely burn off and remain afloat.  Periodically, members of the public find an MLM that has washed ashore.  MLMs pose a potential hazard to the public that must be taken seriously.  If an MLM is found, DO NOT TOUCH!  MLMs should only be handled by military or police members who have received training on the disposal of unexploded ordnance.

What does an MLM look like?

The MLM is unpainted natural aluminium in colour.  It may have a green band on the forward end with “CCC” written in white letters.  The MLM is also labelled with clear hazard warnings and instructions to contact police or military.  The MLM is 47 cm (18.5 inches) in length, has a diameter of 7.6 cm (2.9 inches) and weighs 1.7 kgs (3.75 pounds).

mlm - bottom

What are MLMs used for?

Ships and aircraft use MLMs to mark a specific position on the water surface.  When dropped into the water, they give off large clouds of dense smoke and burn violently for up to 20 minutes, making them an excellent location marker for day and night.  MLMs are frequently used during search and rescue operations and during training exercises to practice emergency procedures and navigation at sea.

mlm - side view

What should I do if I find an MLM?

If you find an MLM, DO NOT TOUCH!  Leave it where it is.  Mark the location of the MLM, call the RCMP, (telephone list) and a person trained in the handling and disposal of unexploded ordnance will come and retrieve the MLM.

Why can’t I pick up and handle the MLM?

Handling the MLM could result in very serious burns.  The MLM contains  phosphorous, a compound that burns at an extremely high temperature.  Chances are that if the MLM has washed up to shore or a place that you can find it, the MLM has not completely burned off and, therefore, could possibly reignite.  If the MLM reignites, only a total lack of oxygen can put it out.

mlm - top view

Why can’t I transport the MLM to the local police station myself?

The MLM should not be placed in any confined spaces, including a vehicle, because it could reignite and cause a serious fire.  Driving with an MLM in your vehicle puts yourself and other motorists around you at risk.  The motion of the vehicle could jar the MLM, making it reignite and start a vehicle fire.


Of course, we called the local RCMP to say we had them at our house after we walked them home and I read the fine print a few hours later. The first RCMP lady on the phone sounded a bit panicky and said first off “you know you are NOT supposed to remove them from the beach, right?” and the friendlier local RCMP who arrived at our hosue within the half hour said “I’m so glad you took that off the beach as people like me with kids worry when they are found. We are picking up about 2 a month from our Quadra beaches”. Really? Is it only me that goes to the paranoid “save the whales” and “shouldn’t someone report a stat like that to the local Sierra club?” place.

The annual Quadra Island beach clean up is next Sunday. We will be in Vancouver for the weekend but I feel confident we did our bit today (and every day) to keep our beaches clean. Stay tuned for plastic art sculpture from recently found beach plastics.




3 comments on “HAZARDOUS MATERIAL found object ~for this week!

  1. It could have been worse, you might have tried to
    make a wind chime out of them. Nuclear Plant here
    is picking up traces of radiation from Japan on their
    monitors. Small world isn’t it?

    • I listened to a REALLY scary program on CBC this am about it. Also friends on Haida Gwaii have neighbours tracking radiation levels in rain, ocean and tap water = radiation already traces in all of it and getting worse. talk soon, i’m free Wednesday
      love jen

  2. This post came in really handy when I came across one of these today and didn’t know what it was. Thanks from Kingston, ON!

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