Flare disposal event at Bangor Marina

angor Harbour will be one location for the marine flare disposal day on Saturday, 15th June. Pictured are (from left) Bangor Harbour Master Kevin Baird, Greg Yarnall of the Royal Yachting Association NI, Constable Wayne Robinson and Inspector Stephen Burke.

BOAT owners are asked to bring any time-expired marine distress flares to a disposal event at Bangor Marina next month.

The initiative is being organised by the Royal Yachting Association Northern Ireland (RYA NI) and facilitated by the PSNI  on June 15, between 10am and 3pm.

There is no commercial disposal service currently available in Northern Ireland for marine distress flare disposal. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s (MCA) voluntary flare disposal service ceased in December 2022, meaning private individuals are now required to either return them to the original supplier for disposal, if available, or use a third-party commercial disposal service.

Old marine distress flares may not work effectively when needed most in an emergency or could misfire causing injury, and until a long-term solution is found to dispose of old flares, the RYA NI and PSNI have come up with the initiative to take place during Police Marine Safety Week. As well as Bangor Marina, disposal events will also be held at Lough Erne Yacht Club and Portrush Yacht Club.

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, said: “We would also like to thank [North Down MLA and DUP sport spokesman]  Stephen Dunne 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 find application via this link : pwww.psni.police.uk/sites/default/files/2022-08/Firearms Form 31-9 – Application for consent to purchase or acquire.pdf 

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