"Don’t mess with life saving devices, this can save you, this can save your family member, it can save your brother, sister or friends. But if its not properly put into its house, or properly tied and its been tampered with or burned, its not a life saving device anymore, it’s a hazard."
That was the stark warning by Drogheda River Rescue and Recovery have to vandals who put four life rings out of commission along the River Boyne.
During a visit to their boathouse on July 12, the team were alerted to a life-ring in the water down the laneway beside Mattress Mick.
Arriving to the scene to retrieve the life-ring, crew discovered that the rope had been cut.
In fact, all of the rope from this life-ring and three others was completely missing, leaving four life-rings in the one area rendered useless, taking away valuable seconds in saving a life to find a working life-ring.
Ciara Hall, volunteer for Drogheda River Rescue and Recovery said, "If the rope is damaged or not tied to the box, it’s dangerous. It’s very important that the rope is in a good state of affairs, that it’s tied to the box and that there are no knots on the rope.
"It’s basically like a defib for the river. It’s incredibly important that they’re not tampered with and that they’re respected as a life saving piece of equipment.”
On a Facebook post, the team added, “please let us know if you are out walking and find a life-ring that needs attention so we can alert the relevant authorities if we are unable to restage ourselves.
"We have informed local authorities that these life-rings require urgent attention.”
Ciara continued, “every weekend on Friday and Saturday night, and if its a bank holiday, we do the Sunday night, we go around the town and check every single life-ring to make sure that it’s properly staged.
"If it's not properly staged then we put them back into the boxes and make sure that they’re available for public use.
"A lot of the life-rings – sometimes we find drugs in them, syringes – they are being misused by the public. But the majority of the time people do look after them. We had one ring that was set on fire about two months ago, and it was very badly damaged.”