19/06/2024

Over 4,000 Time-Expired Distress Flares Retired At PSNI Event

A 67-year-old marine distress flare was among more than 4,000 time-expired flares retired at an event facilitated by the PSNI on behalf of the Royal Yachting Association Northern Ireland.

The flare disposal day has been described as a "well-supported initiative" with a total of 4011 flares handed in by members of the public and boating community.

The risk of keeping old marine distress flares is that these may not work effectively when you need them most in an emergency or could misfire causing injury.

Inspector Stephen Burke of the Police Service's Explosives Blasting Unit said: "Our thanks to all who came along on the day, the RYA and other organisers behind these disposal events over three locations in Bangor Marina, Portrush Yacht Club and Lough Erne Yacht Club on Saturday.

"These flares can now be properly and safely disposed of, allowing people to replace them with more reliable versions."
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The Maritime and Coastguard Agency's (MCA) voluntary flare disposal service stopped in December 2022 and as there is no commercial disposal service currently available in Northern Ireland for marine distress flare disposal and, until a long-term solution is found, this Marine Distress Flare Disposal event was organised during Police Marine Safety Week.

Inspector Burke added: "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."

If anyone could not avail of the flare disposal event on Saturday, you can email ExplosivesDistricts@psni.police.uk to arrange a disposal.  

The Police Service wishes to remind boat owners that written police consent must be given prior to the purchase of Marine Distress Pyrotechnics.


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