Interesting. I'd ask what law or reg you were violating. I doubt they'd be able to come up with one.
Excerpt from above link:
>BOATERS SHOULD KEEP VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNALSON THEIR BOAT
>Visual distress signals will aid search assets in locating them should an
>Vessels owned in the United States operating on the high seas must be
>equipped with U.S.C.G. approved visual distress signals.
>They are marked with an expiration date. Expired signals may be carried as
>extra equipment, but can not be counted toward meeting the visual distress
>signal requirement, since they may be unreliable.
>If they are expired, take them to your local fire department or Coast Guard