Ardrossan coastguard team respond to flares washed up on Irvine beach

The Ardrossan Coastguard Rescue Team was called out this afternoon following reports of a number of maritime distress flares being found on Irvine Beach by the volunteers from Coastwatch Irvine.

The team responded immediately and proceeded to Irvine to liaise with the first informants and establish the full circumstances of the incident.


Arriving on scene, the team proceeded straight onto the beach in the team’s 4x4 Coastguard Rescue Vehicle and located the first informant and the items in question on the beach south of Irvine Harbour.

Four time expired rocket flares and three time expired hand smoke flares were quickly located and identified having been washed up by the tide. The team thereafter deployed setting up an initial cordon and conducted the necessary safety assessment of the devices before making them safe and removing them from the beach.

Ayr Coastguard Rescue Team has thereafter been requested to rendezvous with the team at Irvine Beach Park to conduct a safe handover of the time expired pyrotechnics for onward transportation to Girvan Coastguard Station for storage and subsequent disposal.


The team has thereafter stood down and returned to station to complete the necessary paperwork before booking off duty and returning home.

The Ardrossan Coastguard Rescue Team is on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to respond to those in need at the coast and beyond.


Maritime distress flares are explosive devices and pose a significant risk, especially when time expired and having spent time in the water. They can be safely disposed of at many marinas and chandlers for a small fee.


We would urge people not to throw time expired pyrotechnics overboard or dump them in bins or anywhere else due to the risks involved – it’s also a criminal offence.

If you find something along the coast which you think could be a maritime distress flare or ordnance washed up please do not touch or move it, keep well back and dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard immediately.


Coastguard Rescue Teams are specially trained and equipped to deal with maritime distress flares and to respond to suspected ordnance along the coast.

#999Coastguard


Search and Rescue – it’s what we do.

In a coastal, beach or cliff emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.


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