Public Safety Information

We are committed to working with our Local Authorities and Emergency Services to keep members of the public informed of any issues in respect of the Range that may affect them.

Local residents, businesses and visitors to the area need to be aware of the hazardous nature of activities conducted on the Range and understand the restrictions associated with access, health and safety.


The Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations ensure that businesses:

  • Take all necessary measures to prevent major accidents involving dangerous substances.
  • Limit the consequences to people and the environment of any major accidents which do occur.

Due to its size and the nature of activities conducted by QinetiQ at MOD Shoeburyness, the site is classified as an "upper-tier" COMAH site. Under the regulations, we are required to work with Essex County Council, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Rochford District Council and the emergency services to keep local residents and businesses informed of any incidents which may affect them.

If your house/business premises/building falls within the specified distance of the site boundary that forms the Public Information Zone (PIZ), we are required to advise you what action you should take in the unlikely event of a major accident or incident on the site that may affect you.

This notification is a requirement of the COMAH regulations. It does not represent any change in the business of the Range or increased risk to public safety. QinetiQ has an excellent safety track record and representatives from the Competent Authorities inspect and monitor site activities regularly to make sure that working practices and facilities meet with the required standards.

Is my house in the Public Information Zone?

If your postcode begins with SS3, there is a possibility that your address falls within the PIZ. You can check if your address is in the PIZ by calling the Helpline free on 0800 0560108.

If your address does fall within the PIZ, we advise you to register for the Shoeburyness Emergency Alert Service.

The Competent Authority comprises three organisations: the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), the Environment Agency (EA - for England and Wales) and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA). These three organisations are responsible for the enforcement of the COMAH Regulations.

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Emergency Alert Service

Do you live or work near the MOD Shoeburyness Range?

In the unlikely event of an emergency on the Range that may affect you, QinetiQ is committed to warning and informing you as quickly and effectively as possible.

The Shoeburyness Emergency Alert Service (SEAS) provided by Everbridge, is a free of charge alert and update system that delivers relevant and critical messages to you using the delivery method of your choice. SEAS (provided by Everbridge), is a free of charge alert and update system that delivers relevant and critical messages to you using the delivery method of your choice.

When you register you can choose to receive emergency alerts and updates on your mobile phone via SMS (text), by landline telephone or e-mail. SEAS messages are prioritised on the mobile networks to ensure that your SMS updates are not delayed by network congestion. Your details will be held in secure data facilities and will only be used to send emergency messages.

Register for the online Member Portal today by clicking here and following the instructions. Alternatively, you can download the Public Information leaflet below, complete the registration form and post it to SEAS Registration, QinetiQ, MOD Shoeburyness, SS3 9SR. For further information on preparing for emergencies, visit the Essex County Council website.

Information for Mariners

A guide to navigating Maplin and Foulness Sands.


Date(s) Description
August 2020 Havengore Bridge status: Open to marine traffic in accordance with MOD Byelaws.
August 2020 Potton Bridge status: Open to marine traffic on all high tides.

A guide to navigating Maplin and Foulness Sands

Range Sea Danger Area

The Maplin and Foulness Sands area surrounding MOD Shoeburyness is very popular for recreational sailing, watersports and fishing. If you intend to sail, board or paddle nearby you should be aware that the area outlined on the map below is a Range Sea Danger Area.

The Range operates Monday to Friday (and occasionally on weekends), all year round and is shown as being ACTIVE by the flying of Red Flags. If you are unfamiliar with navigating in the area or if you believe you have a legitimate reason to request entry to the the Range Sea Danger Area, you must contact MOD Shoeburyness as follows:

  • Range Control: 01702 383211
  • Marine Control: 01702 383311
  • Marine VHF: Channel 72 & 16 (Call sign "Shoe Radar")

The area falls within the jurisdiction of the Shoeburyness Artillery Ranges Byelaws 1936 and the Shoeburyness and District Military Lands Byelaws 1935 (under the Military Lands Acts 1892 to 1903) which govern the rights of passage through the Inner and Outer Sea Areas that make up the Range Sea Danger Area. The byelaws exist and are applied in the interest of public safety and ensure that the Range can operate without presenting a risk.


Sea Danger Area

Click here for information on Flags and the Sea Danger Area.

Information for Pilots

Due to the hazardous nature of work carried out at MOD Shoeburyness, an Air Danger Area is established by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) around Shoeburyness and Foulness, when any of the Ranges D136, D138, D138A, D138B, D138C and D138D are active.

Southend Airport Air Traffic Control provides a Danger Area Activity Information Service (DAAIS) to warn pilots of aircraft flying outside controlled airspace, when the Ranges are active. Pilots flying in the Southend area should contact Southend Radar by radio (frequency 130.780MHz) in advance to ensure that they avoid the Ranges when they are active.

Pilots of all aircraft types, including microlights and paragliders, must familiarise themselves with the restrictions. Further details of the restricted air space can be found on the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) website.

Unidentified Objects

Due to the hazardous nature of current and historical activities at MOD Shoeburyness, there is an ongoing risk that visitors to the area may discover Unexploded Ordnance (UXO).

Any person who finds any metal object including shot, shell, bomb, projectile, or any unidentified explosive object or part of such an object should report the finding to MOD Shoeburyness on 01702 383211 or to the Police.


The removal of any such object, or any lead, other metal or metallic object may be dangerous and is prohibited under the Military Lands and Artillery Byelaws.

Flags and the Sea Danger Area

In accordance with the byelaws, the Inner Sea Area is closed to all maritime traffic and personal watercraft (PWC) at all times, without flags or signage.

There are six Red Flags and a Black Ball that indicate when the Outer Sea Danger Area is closed. When Flags 1-6 are flown and the Black Ball is raised, the area marked by the red line and red marker numbers 1-8 on the map above is closed to all maritime traffic.

When Flags 1-6 are lowered, maritime traffic is permitted to use the Outer Sea Area and is permitted passage through the Inner Sea Area to the following destinations:

The Shoeburyness Anchorage (otherwise known as Shoeburyness East Beach) by the shortest possible route. Note: No vessel or personal watercraft (PWC) is permitted to remain in the Inner Sea Area, they may only sail through on route to and from the Anchorage.

Havengore Creek - via Havengore Bridge which is operated when the creek is navigable, two hours either side of high tide during daylight hours.

The Red Flags are at the following locations:

Flag 1 – near the sea wall at the extreme west end of War Department property adjoining SOUTH SHOEBURY COMMON. Locally known as "Uncle Tom's" and better described as adjacent to the HM Coastguard Station and the Slipway in Thorpe Bay (opposite the Shorehouse Harvester public house).

Flag 2 – on the shore east of RAMPART STREET.

Flag 3 – on the sea wall at east end of BLACKGATE ROAD.

Flag 4 – on the sea wall approximately 500 feet south west of MORRINS POINT.

Flag 5 – on the shore near WAKERING STAIRS.

Flag 6 – On the sea wall at the war department boundary, HAVENGORE BRIDGE.

Black Signal Ball hoisted at the yard arm of the Observation Tower at FISHERMAN’S HEAD.

Sea Danger Area Navigation Points

For the avoidance of doubt, the co-ordinates listed below provide the exact turning points for the Outer and Inner Sea Areas that comprise the Range Sea Danger Area. The points are also labelled on the map above.

Outer Sea Area
1. 51° 31.380'N 0° 46.515'E
2. 51° 30.220'N 0° 45.724'E
3. 51° 30.270'N 0° 51.273'E
4. 51° 31.459'N 0° 56.704'E
5. 51° 34.071'N 1° 2.239'E
6. 51° 39.581'N 1° 7.391'E
7. 51° 39.609'N 1° 2.735'E
8. 51° 36.990'N 0° 54.961'E

Inner Sea Area
1. 51° 31.282'N 0° 46.974'E
5. 51° 34.071'N 1° 2.239'E
9. 51° 35.933'N 0° 56.189'E
10. 51° 30.713'N 0° 52.386'E

Tips for navigating in the vicinity of the MOD Shoeburyness Range


  • contact the Range if you are unsure of the location of the Sea Danger Area.
  • contact the Range if you believe you have a legitimate reason to enter the Sea Danger Area.
  • inform Range Control when you exit the Sea Danger Area (if permission is granted by the Range for you to enter the Sea Danger Area).
  • follow any instructions issued by the crew of the Range Safety Boat which operates in the vicinity of the Sea Danger Area.
  • make fellow mariners aware of this guidance.


  • assume that sticking close to the coast and not contacting the Range will keep you safe. MOD Shoeburyness is a live firing range and there is a very real risk of serious injury if you ignore these guidelines.
  • assume that the Sea Danger Area is safe simply because you can’t see or hear any activity.
  • press on regardless if you have not been given permission to enter the Sea Danger Area.