"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..."

Boaters in Northern Ireland can safely dispose of expired flares at three different locations next month, on the same day.

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 Ministry of Defence (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Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres (MRCC) and other collection points being withdrawn.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 (RYA NI) have been working closely with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) of Northern Ireland for North Down Stephen Dunne, who is the spokesperson for sport, to arrange a disposal day for Northern Irish boaters.

  • On Saturday 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:

By offering boaters the choice of three locations across the country to safely dispose of flares, it is hoped that the most amount of people possible will avail of this opportunity.

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.”

The Royal Yachting Association Northern Ireland and Police Service of Northern Ireland have teamed up to meet the demand for safe expired marine flare disposal

(from left) Inspector Stephen Burke, Greg Yarnall of the RYA and Constable Wayne Robinson, meet in Bangor Marina ahead of the flare disposal day on 15 June

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Greg Yarnall, RYA NI 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 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.”