Stolen Ringbuoys put lives at risk

Lives will be lost if people continue to interfere with ringbuoys that are located beside waterways currently being enjoyed by thousands nationwide.

Lives will be lost if people continue to interfere with ringbuoys that are located beside waterways currently being enjoyed by thousands nationwide.

Irish Water Safety is voicing this concern as warmer weather attracts people to walk alongside Ireland’s inland and coastal waterways. Knowing how to use a ringbuoy can be a lifesaver in an emergency which is why Irish Water Safety has published an online guide and instructional video to help members of the public to become successful rescuers in an emergency.

In many instances, late night revelers under the influence of alcohol continue to vandalize these lifesaving devices which if missing when required, could easily result in a drowning when a person falls into water and is unable to rescue themselves without assistance.

A ringbuoy also dissuades the rescuer from getting into difficulty as they remain on dry land to conduct the rescue. Irish Water Safety introduced a specific colour code for the ringbuoy, rope and box in order to enhance visibility and to reduce vulnerability to theft and damage however this abuse continues. The eighteen inch throwing and retrieving ringbuoy, maintained by local authorities around Ireland, is compact and light in design, allowing it to be thrown to the casualty in the water. It can be quickly retrieved and re-thrown. The standard drill for throwing ringbuoys forms a primary part of early water safety instruction in classes run by Irish Water Safety and now in Primary schools under the Primary Aquatic Water Safety programme.

How to use a ringbuoy:

Stand back from the edge and establish voice contact with the person, shouting ‘Kick your legs!’

Look for the nearest ringbuoy (Yellow Box).

Stand on the end of the rope or hold it in your hand.

Holding the ringbuoy, swing back, then release forward with an under-arm throw, shouting: ‘Ringbuoy! Ringbuoy! Ringbuoy!’

Aim to land the ringbuoy beyond the person, so that the ringbuoy can be pulled into their grasp.

Instruct the person to hold the ringbuoy. Slowly pull them to land, reassuring them.

Get others to help you and call 112 or 999 for emergency services.

See the quick reference guide here: “IWS Ringbuoy Leaflet” at

Watch the video here:

Please report missing ringbuoys to

Any person coming upon a Ringbuoy in unsatisfactory condition can assist by recoiling the rope clockwise. Gardai have convicted members of the public for interfering with and damaging lifesaving equipment but this is of little comfort to a person drowning and in need of assistance.

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Live editorial team any time. To contact Donegal Democrat and Donegal People's Press, email To contact Donegal Post, email To contact Inish Times, email

More News

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.