In 2014, 133 ringbuoys were replaced throughout the entire year in Waterford. However, 139 have already been replaced from January to July this year.
“We reached a stage where we were down to our last few ringbuoys in stock and we had to source more,” explained volunteer and trainer with Waterford Marine Search and Rescue David Hearne
In particular, he said the Waterside area of Waterford City had proved particularly problematic.
“Every week we are replacing ringbuoys on the Waterside at least two or three times,” he said.
David has pleaded with people to think about the consequences of their actions before removing or tampering with a ringbuoy.
“At the weekends, some people might have drink taken and they throw in the ringbuoys when they’re passing. What if a member of their own family needed that ringbuoy?”
He said that almost 40 ringbuoys had to be replaced in various locations in Waterford city within the space of three weeks alone recently.
David praised An Garda Síochána and Waterford City & County Council for their co-operation but said it was disheartening to have to continually replace ringbuoys.
In addition to the number of ringbuoys which have been replaced this year, 182 ringbuoys have been tampered with while106 have been retrieved from the water.
Waterford Marine Search and Rescue co-founder Darryl Barry has called for the Gardaí to issue fines to those found to have removed or interfered with ringbuoys.
Waterford Marine Search and Rescue service (a registered charity), was established in January 2010 by Declan and Darryl Barry to provide Waterford city and county with a 24 hour, 365 days-a-year search, rescue and recovery service.
Its operations include search and rescue; maintenance and monitoring of ringbuoys; night patrols around Waterford City; suicide prevention; swift white water rescue; and rescue kayaking teams.
Waterford Marine Search and Rescue’s volunteers have rescued 19 people from the waters of the River Suir; prevented 63 people from entering the river with the intention of taking their life; clocked up over 1300 hours annually on suicide prevention patrols; and saved over 82 lives since 2010.
In December 2013, the Barry brothers were presented with a Volunteer Ireland Award.