You can't apply for this licence online. Contact your local council.


You must have a licence for explosives in harbours in Northern Ireland.

This includes the following activities in a harbour or harbour area:

  • bringing explosives in
  • carrying or handling any explosives
  • loading or unloading any explosives

How to apply

Call the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) for more information on the application process.

Northern Ireland Office
028 9052 0700
Find out about call charges

You may have to pay a fee to apply.


When you bring explosives into a harbour you must make sure:

  • 24 hours written notice is given to the harbour master and berth operator (if applicable)
  • your vessel clearly displays a flag during the day and a red light at night or in poor visibility
  • your vessel has a radio capable of receiving and transmitting in the VHF band
  • a listening watch is kept on your vessel at all times, except when the vessel is at a berth or for short periods when the radio is tuned to another frequency for operational purposes
  • any freight container containing explosives is properly ventilated, correctly labelled with hazard warning signs, and accompanied by a certificate confirming that the substance has been packed safely
  • display hazard warning panels on each side if your vessel is a barge

Your notice must be in writing or another form agreed with the harbour master and must contain enough information to evaluate risks to the health and safety of any person. In addition, if you operate a vessel, you may be required to state whether your vessel has the certificate of fitness.

You must secure the explosives against loss, theft or wrongful use. If you transfer the explosives to someone else, you must get a written receipt from them. You must take all appropriate precautions for preventing an explosion, fire or risk to health and safety.

You must take your vessel out of the harbour as soon as possible once loading with explosives is completed.

You must follow any directions by the harbour master if they feel that there is a risk to health or safety. These directions may regulate entry, removal or handling of explosives, or anything that contains or carries explosives.

You must follow the harbour master’s instructions as to when and where you may anchor, moor or move your vessel and you must ensure that conditions imposed by the harbour master are followed.

You must notify the harbour master, and follow his subsequent instructions, where:

  • any explosives are dropped overboard
  • there is any deterioration or change to explosives that might lead them to pose a greater risk to health and safety
  • there is any incident involving the threat or occurrence on the vessel of a serious health and safety risk

You must follow any conditions attached to the licence, and any byelaws prohibiting the entry or regulating the entry, carriage, handling and storage of explosives of the harbour authority.