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Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 12°C
# stolen life
Hundreds of life-saving ring buoys go missing every month
The ringbuoys disappear from around the country – and Irish Water Safety say they have even heard of people using the rope from them as clotheslines.

HUNDREDS OF LIFE-SAVING ring buoys go missing in Ireland every month – and each one could mean a stolen life.

That’s the message Irish Water Safety (IWS) is trying to get out as people make the most of the sunny weather around Ireland this weekend.

Roger Sweeney of IWS told that they have even set up a website – where people can flag a missing ring buoy.

“We still get reports of people using the rope as clotheslines,” said Sweeney. “Also the ring buoys themselves are thrown away. That primarily happens late at night when the pubs close. People are coming out of pubs, they have enjoyed the pub but maybe not enough and still want to find someway to enjoy themselves. A stolen ring bouy can mean a stolen life.”

Price on life

IWS is asking people to leave the ring buoys alone, as “every weekend up and down the country” some go missing. “They cost €55 and you can’t put a price on a life,” said Sweeney.

Local authorities replace them – they do send somebody around to patrol and see if they are missing. It’s a terrible waste just because someone after a few drinks decides to chuck them into the water.

About 140 people drown in Ireland every year, with 40 children aged under 14 drowning in the last decade.

“We don’t want in ten years time to see another decade where we have 40 kids drowning,” said Sweeney. “We have all the resources that are available to us. We don’t want others going into the water. A ring buoy will help them reach for them instead of going in.”

Of the hundreds of ring buoys that go missing, only some are found after being discarded by the culprits.

Read: Irish Coast Guard warns people to ‘stay safe in the water’ this summer>

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