Cork County Council concerned about lifesaving Ringbuoys being stolen

9 March 2016
By Bryan T. Smyth


Cork County Council and Irish Water Safety are asking members of the public to safeguard our Ringbuoys and ensure that they are not interfered with, or damaged, in order to help reduce the number of drowning incidents.

The placement of Ringbuoys at many locations throughout Ireland saves lives. The Irish Water Safety Association introduced a specific colour code for the ring buoy, rope and box to enhance visibility and reduce vulnerability to theft and abuse. It is compact and light in design, allowing it to be thrown to the casualty in the water, and if missed enable swift retrieval and re-throwing.

Regrettably, there remain incidents of malicious damage and theft of these lifesaving appliances with a continuing need for the public to be made aware that damage, or theft of, such Ringbuoys or the attached rope, could result in the loss of life.  Ringbuoys have played an important role in reducing accidental drowning. Efforts continue to educate the public that “A Stolen Ringbuoy can mean a Stolen Life”.


Cork County Council maintains Ringbuoys as lifesaving appliances. The purpose of these Ringbuoys is twofold; firstly they act as a constant visible reminder of the danger that water can represent, and secondly, they are intended to be used to affect a life-saving rescue of any person in distress. Disappointingly, there have been instances of the vandalising of these lifesaving appliances. Cork County Council, in carrying out regular inspections, has discovered Ringbuoys either missing or damaged. While there is a financial implication to this act of vandalism, the serious risk is to human life caused by the deliberate damage to this equipment could have devastating effects.

Cork County Council and Irish Water Safety are appealing to the public to assist in keeping these vitally important lifesaving appliances in good condition at all times. Any person seen tampering with, or in possession of, these lifebelts should be reported to Cork County Council and/or the Gardaí. The Gardaí have convicted individuals for interfering with and damaging lifesaving equipment but they require the public’s continued assistance for successful prosecutions.

Any person coming upon the Ringbuoy or ropes in unsatisfactory condition can assist in public safety by untangling the rope and replacing it in the boxes or hooks provided for the purpose. Please coil the ropes in a clockwise direction and place the coil of rope at the bottom of the box or on the hanging hook provided. Please report missing ringbuoys by clicking on .

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