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NI marine distress flares disposal event

Representatives from RYA NI and PSNI at the marina.

RYA Northern Ireland works with the Police Service of Northern Ireland to organise marine flare disposal days in Bangor, Portrush and Enniskillen.


Over the last few years, marine flares have become increasingly difficult to dispose of in Northern Ireland. This is due to changes to carriage and storage regulations, as well as the MoD Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Teams routine collection service from HM Coastguard Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres (MRCC) and other collection points being withdrawn.


It is illegal to dispose of flares at sea, illegal to dump them on land and illegal to let them off in anything other than an emergency. On top of this, improper disposal of marine flares can be dangerous or cause harm to the environment.


To address the issue, RYA Northern Ireland has been working closely with the PSNI and Stephen Dunne (MLA for North Down and spokesperson for sport), to arrange a disposal day for Northern Irish boaters.


When and where to dispose of your flares

On 15 June, boaters will be invited to three locations across the country between 10am and 3pm to dispose of any expired flares.

These locations will be:

Portrush Yacht Club
Bangor Marina
Lough Erne Yacht Club

By providing locations across the country, they aim to maximise the opportunity for Northern Irish boaters to avail of this opportunity.


Ahead of the disposal day, Inspector Stephen Burke of the Police Service’s Explosives Blasting Unit said: “We would encourage all with these marine flares which are past their best to use this opportunity to safely dispose of them and replace with more reliable flares.

“You should never use flares that are expired or damaged. Nor should you dispose, discard or dump flares anywhere, whether at sea or on land. Flares are explosive devices. Anyone possessing a flare is responsible for it until it has been used or properly disposed of in the appropriate way such as at one of these disposal days.”


Greg Yarnall, Royal Yachting Association Northern Ireland Chief Executive Officer added: “Many of our members across Northern Ireland have found it extremely challenging to not have a designated place to dispose of flares in Northern Ireland so we are extremely grateful to the Police Service of Northern Ireland in putting on a flare disposal day to support boaters to have an opportunity to dispose safely of any time-expired flares.

“We would also like to thank Stephen Dunne (MLA for North Down and spokesperson for sport) for his role in supporting the day to happen. Whilst a long-term solution is still needed and welcomed, this will provide some immediate respite and improve safety for all boat users across Northern Ireland and we urge all boat users with expired flares to make the most of the opportunity available.”


The PSNI wish to remind boat owners that ‘Written Police Consent’ must be given prior to the purchase of Marine Distress Pyrotechnics. To apply for this consent, please download an application form.


Completed applications or queries should be e-mailed to: ExplosivesDistricts@psni.police.uk


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