Serious injuries could be inflicted if the flares were wrongly used, gardaí said.
“They are extremely dangerous in the wrong hands,” gardaí warned.
The flares were reported stolen from a number of boats that were moored in Ring, CoWaterford.
Dungarvan-based Inspector Paul Heffernan, who is leading the investigation, said gardaí were appealing for the public’s help in tracing the flares so they can prevent somebody getting seriously injured.
He said the flares were stolen on Monday night/early Tuesday of this week from several boats moored in Helvick harbour. “The flares are stored in individual bright red or orange canisters. They are about 30cm in length and the canisters have a warning label attached,” Insp Heffernan said.
“We would be concerned that children might use them like fireworks, which they are not”, he said.
“Flares burn with intense heat and in the wrong hands would cause serious injuries or even fatalities.”
Gardaí are also worried that youths might set them off on the coastline, pretending there was a vessel in trouble out at sea.
Insp Heffernan said this would be a grossly irresponsible thing to do as the emergency services would have to respond.
Not only would it waste their time, he said, but it could also put lifeboat crews’ life at unnecessary risk if they had to launch during inclement weather.
“This is an unusual theft and we are very anxious to get any information which will enable us retrieve the flares,” Insp Heffernan said. “Any person coming across the flares is urged not to touch them, and contact their nearest Garda station,” he added.
Anybody with information is asked to contact Dungarvan Garda Station at 058-48600 or the Garda Confidential Line at 1800 666111.