The question of how you should store marine flares can invite some excessive storage requirements from your insurers – demands for metal cabinets along with warning notices are commonplace.

The U.K has The Manufacturer and Storage of Explosive Regulations 2005 to comply with.   Briefly, this says that if you hold more than 5 kilograms of net explosive quantity you have to have a licence. A general guideline for the calculation of the net weight of explosive is considered to be ¼ of the weight of a marine flare itself.  This may mean, for example, that a small hand held flare pack may only contain as little as 45 grams of net explosive, although this can vary.

It should be noted that the licence registration exemption guidance notes issued by local authorities and fire brigades can be open to interpretation. It is wise therefore if you think you are over the limit seek advice from your local authority.

The guidance that we would give is if you buy in bulk to get better prices, you may need to consider getting a licence due to each authority’s different interpretations of the legislation.

Storage Protection:  Most chandlery shops may not require a licence.  The general guidance provided by manufacturers such as Pains Wessex (a leading manufacturer) to the retailer is that marine flares should be in locked glass cabinets or similar cupboard.  Subject to the net weight regulation this should be sufficient for your insurer. Manufacturers will usually supply their product in appropriate storage containers for transport and this should be sufficient for your own storage arrangements. It is known that Pains Wessex will supply dummy items for display purposes, so it can be worthwhile contacting them for more information.

The requirements of the regulation can cause misunderstandings. If you feel your insurers are making unreasonable requirements talk to one of the IRCM team for practical help 01902 796 793.