MARINEWATCH VOLUNTEERS COMPLETE
THE ‘JERUSALEMA CHALLENGE’!
Wexford Marinewatch Volunteers took part in the ‘Jerusalema Challenge’ recently, which saw them dancing in formation to the song ‘Jerusalema’ by Master KG; They also challenged their colleagues in both ‘Wexford RNLI’ Lifeboat and ‘Claddagh Watch’ (Sister organisation) in Galway to complete it.
It was a welcome break for the volunteers from the seriousness of the work they do, dealing with people in distress on a near-nightly basis. Well done to everyone for participating.
Credits: Skypix.ie for the Videography, and The Ballet Academy for the Choreography!
Marinewatch gets Special Recognition Award.
On Tuesday the 27th of November, Wexford Marinewatch received International recognition for their work for saving lives in the Wexford Community. The Special Recognition Award was made to the organisation by the Lifesaving Foundation – who’s main aim to to save lives worldwide by drowning prevention and awareness. It also recognises organisations who make outstanding contributions in this field – last year it awarded the Irish Naval Service for their outstanding humanitarian work in the Mediterranean.
The Award was presented by the new Garda Commissioner, Mr. Drew Harris at a special ceremony held in the Council buildings. It was accepted on behalf of the organisation by CEO & Founder Frank Flanagan, and Chairman George Lawlor. In just under 6 years, Marinewatch has dealt with over 350 incidents, 155 which involved persons intent on suicide or self-harm.
Marinewatch teams up with another Counselling Service.
Wexford Marinewatch were delighted to announce their strengthened affiliation with local Counselling Service “Its Good to Talk” (IGTT) recently. While our Volunteers continue referring people in difficulty to Pieta House & the Samaritans, they now have an ‘additional’ tool in their toolbox and can now discreetly ‘gift’ a casualty with a Voucher for two free Counselling sessions with the local support service.
“It’s Good to Talk”, which like ourselves relies solely on funding from the local community, offer not just Suicide Prevention Counselling, but a wide range of other Counselling Services too from Drug Addiction, to Gambling etc.
Casualties we encounter can sometimes be embarrassed to ask for help – or sometimes haven’t got the guts to approach a Counselling Service afterwards. With a Gift Voucher in their pocket, they are much more likely to seek help – as it removes a certain amount of the stigma, and any doubt or worry about cost etc. The vouchers are then returned to Marinewatch, who in turn reimburse IGTT for the Counselling sessions, at a discounted rate.
Speaking about the recent partnership, Chairman George Lawlor stated: “Up to now, we would give (and continue to give) people Helpline Numbers and chat to them about seeking professional help. If deemed necessary, the Emergency Services may or may not be called also – however we try not to tie up the time of these vital resources if possible. Once the Casualty is safe and in the hands of a Family member or the Emergency Services, it is then up to the casualty to take the next step. This step is often a very big one, and one they are frightened or embarrassed to make. By gifting them with a voucher for free Counselling, makes that step so much easier and they are much more likely to get the proper help that they require. It also means that we can go that ‘little bit extra’ for persons we encounter”.
The wheels continue to turn at Marinewatch!
From our large base of Volunteers, we have many cyclists – and just recently a few of them came up with a novel idea of getting customised cycling gear made to help raise awareness of what we do. We can’t wait to see them out and about on the roads!
Make sure you give them a bamp, a wave, and 1.5m distance if you see them along the way 😊.
This first batch was exclusive to volunteers and close friends, who also carried the full cost of manufacture themselves. However we hope to offer them on sale to supporters & the general public next Spring – so watch this space 😎.
Partnership Deal signed with Volkswagen
22nd August 2017
Wexford Marinewatch was presented with two new vehicles recently, in a Partnership deal with Wexford Volkswagen (part of the Boland Group). CEO of Marinewatch Frank Flanagan said “This partnership has allowed us upgrade both our vehicles for ones more suitable to the type of work we do. We respond to many situations during our night Patrols, some which are ‘Life or death’ – so reliable vehicles are essential. Volkswagen recognised the vital work we were doing in the community and wanted to help out” he said.
Dealer Principal, Kevin O’Reilly of Wexford Volkswagen said “Marinewatch has become a vital part of the community since 2012 and we wanted to contribute in some way to the lifesaving work carried out by their volunteers every night. Our vehicles are renowned for their reliability, so it made sense for them to team up with us here at Wexford Volkswagen. We are proud to be able to assist them, and commend the work that they do”.
Both vehicles are signed up with the Marinewatch Logo along with high-visibility reflective markings for night time safety. They also carry an onboard Defibrillator, First Aid Kit, Search Lights and various pieces of Rescue Equipment.
Marinewatch achieves Charity Status from new Regulator
20th July 2017
Wexford Marinewatch has been awarded ‘Charitable Status’ from the new Charity Regulator, under the Charities Act 2009. The Charities Regulator is Ireland’s new national statutory regulator for charitable organisations. The Charities Regulator is an independent authority and was established on 16 October 2014 under the Charities Act 2009. The key functions of the Regulator are to establish and maintain a public register of charitable organisations operating in Ireland and ensure their compliance with the Charities Acts. Charity organisations which are non-compliant with the stringent requirements set out in the Act, potentially face closure and/or legal action. This ensures the Public of complete transparency and that all the dealings of a Charity, including financial, are above board and operated with integrity.
More more information visit: www.charitiesregulatoryauthority.ie/
Wexford Marinewatch RCN Number: 20107932
Another rescue brings number of lives saved to 107
17th June 2017
Click here to read
Even more Volunteers hit the streets
15th May 2017
Wexford Marinewatch got a welcome boost recently with the introduction of over 40 new volunteers to its Team.
This now brings the number of operational volunteers to over 130. Since last January, our recruitment team have been busy in the background interviewing and vetting candidates for suitability, finally with their induction being held last week. This extra manpower will allow us to bolster up the number of people on our patrol teams, as well as extend our hours of operation. Over the coming months, they will undergo several training courses, including First Aid and QPR (Suicide Awareness), whilst patrolling under the guidance of our Supervisors.
Some of our new Volunteers with their Certificates
after completing their QPR Training with ‘Talk to Tom’.
Civic Reception Held for Volunteers
10th May 2017
Marinewatch Volunteers were presented with a Civic Reception last week by the Mayor of Wexford Mr. Frank Staples, after their recent success at the IPB Awards in Belfast where they received a Special Recognition Award for their efforts in saving lives in the community. The event which was held at the Irish National Park on 10th May, was attended my several Council officials and Volunteers.
Group CEO, Frank Flanagan stated: “We are delighted and honoured to accept this presentation from the Mayor, on foot of our recent award in Belfast. A big thank you to Wexford County Council and Wexford Local Authorities for their ongoing support of our scheme since it began in 2012 and to the Heritage Park for a magnificent spread of food & refreshments on the night. To date, Marinewatch has intervened with 107 people who were contemplating self-harm and has dealt with over 270 incidents. Little did we know what we was starting 5 years ago, would turn into one of the most successful Suicide Prevention stories in the country. A big thank you to the 130+ Volunteers, who are the cogs in the wheel and make it what it is today. The dedication and selflessness of each and every one of them continues to amaze me and makes me proud to be a member of such a fantastic community”.
Moves afoot to save further lives in Cork City
26 January 2017
Representatives from Wexford Marinewatch travelled to Cork City recently to meet with the Voluntary Emergency Services Sub-group of the Major Emergency Management Framework for the Cork and Kerry Region.
The meeting came about as a result of Wexford Marinewatch’s four years success in saving lives in Wexford Harbour, with a view to see how the same model could be applied along the river Lee in Cork City. An invitation was extended to Marinewatch Management by the Cork Emergency Services, to address the group and explain some of the mechanisms behind its success.
“We were delighted to get the opportunity to address the group, and hopefully many more lives may be saved as a result” said Frank Flanagan, founding member of Wexford Marinewatch. “We already have a model that works, and works very effectively here in Wexford – it has huge potential so we see no reason why it can’t be rolled out elsewhere. We will happily provide whatever assistance necessary to support any similar group and do what we can to help them get up and running if they decide to adopt it” he said.
In attendance at the meeting were representatives from Mallow Search & Rescue, Blackrock Search & Rescue, An Garda Siochana, Cork Civil Defence, St. Johns Ambulance, Mountain Rescue, the National Ambulance Service, Cork City Council, SARDA (Search & Rescue Dogs Association), and the Irish Coast Guard amongst others.
“This ‘inter-agency emergency service management approach’ is what we have here in Wexford, and we believe it is key to the success of any similar scheme – therefore we were delighted to see all agencies coming together from the Cork & Kerry region, to try and address the issue of suicide at a local level” said Frank. “The group were very impressed at how effective it is and how each of the emergency services work together to save lives in the community”.
Over the coming weeks the group will now consider how a similar scheme could be applied to the region, and hopefully a draft recommendation will be put forward – resulting in the eventual establishment of Prevention Patrols along the banks of the River Lee.
2016 Statistics released by Marinewatch
17th January 2017
Marinewatch has published its statistics for 2016, showing that it has just finished its busiest year yet.
Established in 2012 to address the growing issue of suicide in Wexford Harbour, Founder & CEO Frank Flanagan said “Sadly the issue of suicide has not gone away in Wexford. Over the past four years we have seen a year-on-year increase in the number of people either contemplating self-harm or seeking assistance. Sadly, some of those people are individuals we have already dealt with previously.
Nurses and Doctors are over-worked and under-resourced, meaning these people are not getting the assistance & treatment that they require. We do our best to get these people to safety as soon as we can and ensure either the Emergency Services or a family member is contacted. Compassion, respect, delicacy and confidentiality are shown at all times”.
Wexford Marinewatch works closely alongside the other Emergency services in Wexford, such as the Coast Guard, the RNLI, the Gardai and the Ambulance Service – ensuring a rapid response to anyone in danger.
• In the twelve months since January 2016, the 100-strong volunteers have dealt with 84 incidents along the town’s Bridge & Quayfront.
• 40 of these 84 incidents related to distressed persons, who indicated they may endanger themselves.
• Garda assistance was summoned by our Volunteers on 36 occasions.
• Assistance was provided to Volunteers by the Irish Coast Guard on 4 occasions.
• Assistance was also provided by Wexford Ambulance Service for 8 incidents.
• Wexford RNLI Lifeboat was paged 4 times for assistance.
Further to this, it noted:
• Busiest time of day; 11.00pm.
• Busiest day of the week; Saturday.
• Busiest months; June & September.
Mr. Flanagan added; “Since 2012 we have had 102 interventions in total – an intervention being where we would have serious concerns about a persons wellbeing, prevented someone from either taking their own life, or putting themselves in grave danger. These figures mean that over40% of these interventions were in 2016 alone”.
All volunteers are trained in Suicide Prevention techniques which gives them the skillset to approach someone in difficulty and deal with them effectively, delicately & confidentially.
The organisation trains regularly in the Harbour with other services such as the RNLI, ensuring a fast co-ordinated response to someone in the water. The organisation is currently seeking further volunteers to join its team – more information can be got from the ‘volunteering’ link at the top of the page or on our Facebook page. All training & equipment is provided, and volunteers are only asked to give up one night a month.
If you are affected by any of the issues mentioned, the Samaritans can be called 24hrs a day on 116123 or the Pieta House Helpline on 1800 247247.
A map showing the number of incidents in each area for 2016.
MarineWatch scoops ‘Special Recognition Award’
Wexford Marinewatch were the proud recipients of a Special Recognition Award last weekend, at the IPB ‘Pride of Place’ Gala Dinner in Belfast City’s Waterfront Conference Centre.
Fifteen volunteers travelled to Belfast for the event, which saw Marinewatch nominated by Wexford County Council for the work they have done in saving lives in the local community.
Founder, Mr. Frank Flanagan said; “Whether we won anything or not, we would still continue to do what we do, night after night. We are not there for reward or acknowledgement, but to help people in their darkest hour – however I am delighted for our Volunteers to finally get some recognition for all the hard work and dedication they put in, leaving their families to go out patrolling in all sorts of weather”. “This award belongs to them” he said.
The annual event which is sponsored by IPB (Irish Public Bodies) Insurance and Co-operation Ireland, is designed to recognise voluntary organisations, based on the impact and difference made to people’s lives within their community.
Marinewatch is 4 years old this month and not one person has died through suicide in the Harbour in that period.
Number of lives saved reaches 98 in latest incident
20th October 2016
Marinewatch Volunteers swung into action in the early hours of 16th October when a person intentionally entered the water off Wexford Quays.
Our crew instantly deployed a Throwbag (rescue rope) to the casualty and managed to get them ashore in less than a minute. The person was attended to by our team with towels and blankets until Emergency Services arrived. The Gardai and two HSE Ambulances responded rapidly the scene and the casualty was taken into care. The vigilance and quick reaction of our volunteers meant there was no need for Wexford RNLI to launch and one further family saved from Carnage. This brings our incident count to 245 and 98 lives saved since December 2012.
“Circle of Light” ceremony to take place on Sept. 10th
As part of national Suicide awareness week, Wexford Marinewatch will once again hold their annual “Circle of Light” ceremony on September 10th at 9.30pm. This year the new venue is Paul Quay car park (Opposite TK Maxx). This sombre candle-lit vigil is a nice way for people to say a few silent prayers and remember those lost in our community. Prayers will be led by Fr. Aodhan Marken and Rev. Cannon Arthur Minion.
Special Presentation awarded to Marinewatch Founder
1st September 2016
Wexford Marinewatch founder & CEO Frank Flanagan, got a nice surprise this week when he dropped in for a cuppa with his friends in Irish Coast Guard’s ‘Rescue 117’ helicopter Base in Waterford, when he received a special presentation from the crew for his support and dedication in saving lives over the years.
Frank was the driving force behind a campaign in 2010 when the Government attempted to cut the Search & Rescue helicopter to a ‘daylight only’ service. His efforts and dedication ensured that the South East maintained its 24hr helicopter rescue service – and many lives were saved as a result. Since this campaign, Frank maintained close contact with the crew and also assisted them with their Social media exposure over the years – ensuring the public were kept up to date with latest developments and rescues off the South East Coast, reaching an online follower-ship of over 25,000 people.
In 2012, Frank felt further lives could be saved and something needed to be done to combat the high level of suicides being experienced in Wexford Harbour – so he subsequently founded Wexford Marinewatch. To date, 96 persons have been prevented from entering the water in Wexford, and we have dealt with well over 200 incidents. Our management team is made up of members from Wexford’s Emergency Services, which is key to our success.
To mark Frank’s hard work and dedication over the years, he was taken by surprise when he was presented with a framed print of the Helicopter signed by all the Rescue 117 Crew, and an honorary Flight Jacket.
Winch-man Andrew Bernos (pictured), who made the presentation, said “The crews of Rescue-117 are extremely grateful to Frank for all he has done for us over the years. This presentation was our way of saying ‘Thank You’. We hope these mementos remind him of how much we all appreciate his efforts and encourages him to continue his voluntary work in saving further lives”.
Frank said: “I have had great pleasure in getting to know the crew of R117 personally over the years and I have the utmost admiration for the difficult work they do. I am eternally grateful for this presentation and am glad to have been able to make a difference. As Chairman of Marinewatch, I take solace knowing that there is now always Rescue Helicopter cover available 24hrs a day, should anyone enter the water in Wexford Harbour or anywhere along the South East Coast.”
MarineWatch nominated for prestigious Award…
Wexford Marinewatch has been nominated by Wexford County Council for this years “IPB Pride of Place” award. This award is given to voluntary organisations, based on the impact and difference made to people’s lives within their community. Wexford Marinewatch was nominated for the ‘community section’ of the nationwide competition, which will see the winner announced at a function in Belfast towards the end of the year.
On Tuesday 26th June, two Judges visited Wexford to assess the organisation and its abilities. They were given a 2-hour presentation in a local Hotel, where they got to meet the management & emergency services involved behind the scenes in Marinewatch. They were also treated to a ‘full scale Live emergency situation’ on Wexford Bridge – where a dummy was used to simulate a casualty in the water, and a complete live response took place from all the Blue-light emergency services.
The casualty (dummy) was recovered by Wexford Lifeboat in under 5 minutes and transferred to a waiting ambulance. The Gardai, Irish Coast Guard, and Order of Malta also responded. This exercise showed the Judges exactly what happens when someone enters the water in Wexford and how all the agencies fall in together to ensure the casualty’s survival & safety – competition and rivalry are left at the gate.
The Judges subsequently got a tour of the Marinewatch Base and its facilities along with getting to meet some of the 85 strong volunteers, before being addressed by Garda Inspector Denis Whelan and Nick Bowie (RNLI Lifeboat LOM), both management members, about the difference Marinewatch has made in the community;
“Wexford Marinewatch has undoubtedly developed the ‘Gold Standard’ when it comes to Suicide prevention Patrols in Ireland – and is a huge asset in assisting An Garda Siochana” stated Inspector Denis Whelan.
Lifeboat Operations Manager, Nick Bowie said: “As part of the RNLI’s new Community Safety Plan, the RNLI’s aim is to reduce drownings by 50% by 2024. As Wexford Lifeboat have already been working hand in hand with Wexford Marinewatch since 2012, we are already well ahead in Wexford” he said.
Wexford gears up for another fantastic Maritime Festival…
This years Maritime Festival takes place on 25th & 26th of June 2016 – and promises to be the best yet.
The event which takes place on Wexford Quayfront, attracts over 40,000 people and this year hosts an even bigger “Emergency Services Village” – where all the statutory & voluntary emergency services will display their vehicles & equipment, and be on hand to answer any questions from the public. the weekend will be packed with Search & Rescue demonstrations, Aerobic Stunt Aircraft Displays, Raft Races, Kayaking, Sailing, and many other waterbased activities – not to mention ‘Wexford Food Fest’, where the finest food in ireland can be sampled!
For more information, visit Wexford Maritime Festival
New 4X4 for Marinewatch Patrols
Garda Neil Murphy and Frank Flanagan of Marinewatch, presented
with the new 4×4 vehicle by Jason Mulcahy of Northgate Vehicle Hire.
Wexford Marinewatch received a welcome boost recently, with the addition of a 4X4 vehicle to its fleet.
As we rely heavily on our vehicles to be able to respond to incidents quickly anywhere in the area, a suitable and reliable vehicle is a must for our organisation. The new vehicle was very kindly sponsored by Northgate Vehicle Hire in Dublin, with assistance provided by other companies such as Haztec UK (Emergency Lighting) and Crosbie Brothers Ltd (Signwriting).
‘We have two ageing vehicles at the moment, so this vehicle is a welcome addition which will allow us to upgrade our oldest vehicle,’ said CEO Frank Flanagan.
‘Over the next 12 months we hope to locate a similar sponsor, which will allow us upgrade our second vehicle. These vehicles are vital to the service we provide and need to be both reliable and suitable for what we do,’ he said.
“We were already well aware of the great work carried out by Marinewatch Volunteers in Wexford, who’s ongoing success has received national attention – so we were absolutely delighted to get the opportunity to help out and to assist such a fantastic Organisation,” said Jason Mulcahy, Area Manager for Northgate Vehicle Hire, ‘we wish them well and hope the vehicle will assist them in saving further lives’.
Wexford People. Pic: Ger Hore
A look back over 2015…
As it does each year, Wexford Marinewatch have put together a collage of photos in video format, showing a great overview of another successful year…
3 YEARS ON… CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO & SOUND
Marinewatch Publish Statistics for 2015
10th January 2016
Marinewatch is now entering its FOURTH year where no suicide has taken place in Wexford Harbour. There is no doubt left in the community’s mind that this is solely due to the effective Suicide Prevention Patrols that Marinewatch provide several nights a week….
Here’s a look back at some Statistics (for 2015 only):
56 incidents dealt with (ranging from upset people to people requiring First Aid etc.).
29 interventions / Lives saved (people physically stopped from entering the water).
3 Hoax 999 calls received (to us via MRCC that someone had entered the water).
11 requests for assistance to the Irish Coast Guard (made by Marinewatch).
9 requests for assistance from Wexford Lifeboat/RNLI (made by Marinewatch).
2 requests for Ambulances to Ambulance Control (made by Marinewatch).
30 requests for assistance from Wexford Gardai (made by Marinewatch).
Busiest Months: Jan, Sept & Dec.
Busiest Time: 01.00am
We would like to take this opportunity to thank sincerely the Emergency Services above, who assisted us throughout the year – without their help, these 29 lives may not have been successfully saved. We now enter out FOURTH YEAR without any suicide in Wexford Harbour and we hope 2016 will be just as successful.
Thank you everyone for your support.
‘Circle of Light’ for World Suicide prevention day
10th September 2015
Following on from its success last year, Marinewatch held its memorial service ‘Circle of Light’ again this year, in Ferrybank – just adjacent to the river Slaney where many people have perished over the years. A small prayer service with candles was followed by a Wreath being thrown from Wexford bridge as a mark of respect to those lost through suicide in our community. The Wexford RNLI were also in attendance and stood as a guard of honour in their boat as the wreath was thrown.
The Wreath was later recovered by the lifeboat and attached to the Railings of the bridge for the remainder of Suicide prevention week, as a mark of respect to those gone before us.
Photos: Paddy Donovan
Person recovered from Bridge Railings
At approx 11pm last night, Volunteers on duty observed a person who had climbed over the railings on Wexford Bridge in an attempt to harm themselves. Volunteers spoke with the person and provided them with reassurance while Wexford Lifeboat was tasked by MRCC to provide assistance. As soon as the Lifeboat was on scene directly below and it was then safe to do so, the person was lifted back over the railings with the assistance of the Gardai.
The person was taken into the care of the emergency services and the Lifeboat was stood down. This was the first shout for the new Wexford Lifeboat which only entered service on Wednesday. It replaces the old boat which was 10 years old.
This brings to 18 the number of persons Marinewatch have prevented from entering the water in 2015 alone, and brings the number of incidents dealt with in 2015 to 32.
New Volunteers have their first encounter with Wexford Lifeboat.
Some of our recently hired Volunteers kicked off their training last Sunday, with a session with Wexford RNLI Lifeboat.
Search & Recovery techniques were practiced using ‘Dead Fred’ (the RNLI Dummy) acting as a casualty in the water. With a running tide, Fred was deployed at various locations in the Estuary – the volunteers then learned the skills on how to locate the casualty and direct the Lifeboat to the scene by using just hand-signals. Volunteers also got training on Throwbag techniques and deploying ringbuoys.
A big thanks to our RNLI colleagues once again, for facilitating this invaluable training.
(Above: A rope is lowered to RNLI Crew, to winch back up Ringbuoys).
(Above: RNLI Crew train Volunteers in Ringbuoy throwing).
(Above: ‘Dead Fred’ is hosed down, along with the boat after training).
Off-duty Volunteer prevents a suicide on Beach
This heart-warming letter was received by our local newspaper, from a person who was on the brink of suicide at a local beach last year. Fortunately, this person (who was not from the area) had a chance encounter with a lady on the beach who was out jogging; and made them realise just how precious life is.
This lady just happened to be one of our Volunteers – who was trained to spot the signs of suicide, and respond accordingly. We are glad to hear the person has sought the help they needed and is on the road to recovery – we wish them well.
You can read the full Letter HERE.
New volunteers hit the streets…
Following on from a very successful recruitment drive in early January, we are now delighted to have no less than 28 new volunteers rolling out on the beat with us this month!
Our newcomers will ‘shadow’ our fully trained volunteers each night for several months, until such stage as they have completed all their training. We have a good mixture of male & female, both young & old. We wish them the very best of luck and hope they all enjoy the experience of being involved in such a fantastic organisation.
This brings the number of volunteers to just over 90 personnel, each who give up just one night a month to do something special to help their community. The hiring of additional volunteers has now allowed us ‘beef up’ the number of crew out each night, and also allow us to expand our operation.
Unfortunately due to an overwhelming response to our call for volunteers, a lot of people were left dissapointed; however once we get our current recruits up to speed, we hope to open recruitment again later this year.
Hoax calls cost lives…
At approx 10pm on 23rd March 2015, the Irish Coast Guard received a 999 call from someone in apparent difficulty in the vicinity of Wexford Harbour. Our team was dispatched to investigate, along with the Gardai and a HSE Ambulance.
Upon arrival, nothing was found – however after further investigation, the caller was subsequently identified and the call declared a hoax by the Gardai, who are now dealing with the matter.
These type of calls waste valuable time of all the Emergency Services and tie up already over-stretched crews and vehicles when they could be needed for genuine emergencies.
Marinewatch reports a big increase in incidents
Wexford Marinewatch has just entered its THIRD successful year, where no-one has died by suicide in the harbour.
In the last two years, the organisation has dealt with over 100 incidents, and saved over 40 people from imminent death in the icy waters of the harbour. Chairman Frank Flanagan today said “with the help of the advanced training our volunteers have received throughout the last 24 months, they are now able to detect and identify a lot more people who are troubled or need assistance. Unfortunately we still can’t be there every night – or 24hrs a day; however we have plans afoot for expansion in 2015”. Recruitment reopened on 1st January 2015 for a short period, for anyone who feels they would like to help. More information can be got by clicking HERE.
Night time exercises with Wexford RNLI
With the dark evenings upon us, Wexford Marinewatch Volunteers have commenced ‘night-time’ training in Wexford Harbour with Wexford Lifeboat & the Emergency Services. Several of these exercises will be carried out over the winter months, ensuring each volunteer is ready to react when someone enters the water.
Training like this is beneficial to both our Volunteers and the Emergency Services, ensuring a co-ordinated response enabling a swift recovery. This training is carried out irrespective of the weather, as are our patrols. A life-sized Mannequin (Dummy) is released into the water to simulate a real person in difficulty.
Volunteers do a safety briefing with RNLI crew before the exercise…
Volunteers use hand-held Red Flares at night, to direct the Lifeboat to the casualty… Note the
missing Ringbuoy – it has already been deployed to the casualty in the water.
All Emergency Services respond as if it was a real-life incident… This training is as real as it gets.
Two persons saved by Wexford Lifeboat
Wexford Lifeboat launched at 01:35am last night to reports of two persons in the water alongside Wexford Quayfront. One person had been seen entering the water and the second, a trained lifeguard entered to assist with a Ringbuoy. Both were rescued by the Lifeboat within 7 minutes of Volunteer crew being paged, and brought safety to awaiting Ambulance.
Chairman of Wexford Marinewatch Frank Flanagan said; “As a town, we are extremely lucky to have such an experienced resource like the RNLI on our doorstep, who have yet again assisted in preventing any further loss of life in our Harbour. Unfortunately we (Marinewatch) do not currently have the resources or funding to patrol 7 nights a week – so it is a great comfort to know that these guys are available on a 24-7 basis. It does however show that there is a ‘need’ for what we do, and we will continue our efforts to expand our operation over the coming years”.
Since the establishment of Wexford Marinewatch in December 2012, together with the help of Wexford RNLI and Marinewatch Volunteers, the death rate in the Harbour has dropped to ZERO. Both organisations regularly do exercises together to ensure a seamless response to anyone in difficulty.
Anyone who may need assistance in any way, should contact 1800-247-247 (Console) or 1800-247-100 (1Life).
Wexford Inshore Lifeboat.
Volunteers take to the Air!
A number of our volunteers took to the Air today with a visit to Newcastle Airfield in Co. Wicklow.
The visit, organised by our own Nikk George, saw several ‘live out their dream’ by getting behind the controls of a light aircraft and taking in some spectacular scenery along the coast. A fantastic day was had by all, and a few have already ‘caught the bug’!!
Volunteers have a ‘Scream’ at Loftus Hall!
Last night, some of our Volunteers faced their fears head on with a night-time visit to the renowned ‘Loftus Hall’ in South County Wexford (it is reported the Devil once appeared here). The visit was part of a Private function organised by ‘Rescue 117’ for Emergency Service personnel – 5 bands played to the crowd throughout the night, in conjunction with a massive BBQ and all the drink anyone could swallow! – there were a few numb heads the following day, and some were even brave enough to stay over for the night!
A fantastic night was had by all, and a MASSIVE thanks to Loftus Hall and R117 for the organisation of the event.
The famous ‘Loftus Hall’…
Volunteers prepare their ‘Devil Toolkit’ for the night!…
Lee Bennett from R117 also entertains the crowd with some vocals…
Marinewatch and Rescue 117 strengthen relationship
Some senior members of Wexford Marinewatch visited the ‘Rescue 117’ Helicopter base in Waterford Airport recently to meet the crew and discuss the response each other provides in the event of someone entering the water at Wexford Harbour. It was an extremely beneficial visit for both parties, as it gave an insight into the information required and the capabilities (as well as limitations) of the Aircraft. Present was also the Mayor (and fellow volunteer) Mr. George Lawlor, along with CEO Frank Flanagan.
The two main assets Marinewatch rely on for a response are Wexford RNLI lifeboat and the R117 Helicopter. Marinewatch already trains with the Lifeboat, so this was an opportunity to meet the R117 crew and understand how they fit in to the same response.
The visit concluded with a flight over the Harbour in question, and a birds-eye view of our new base!!
A big thanks to the Crew on the day; Ciaran, Lee, Sean & Adrian – and also Declan Geoghegan of the Irish Coast Guard for facilitating the visit.
Mayor George Lawlor, with Winchman Adrian O’Hara.
Cpt. Lee Bennett navigates through a rain shower en-route to Wexford…
Approaching Wexford Harbour… (Wexford Hospital in foreground)…
New Marinewatch Base opens
After nearly two years working out of the rear of a vehicle, Marinewatch finally has a place to call ‘Home’, with the recent opening of their new Cabin, adjacent to the river in Wexford Harbour.
The Portacabin was purchased and fitted out entirely from money raised & donated by the local community and is a huge asset to the organisation – as it will now give the organisation somewhere to carry out training and allow the introduction of new rescue equipment etc.
“It belongs to the people of Wexford, and it is a great opportunity for us to be able to show where all that hard-earned funding has gone” said CEO Frank Flanagan.
The official opening and ‘Ribbon-cutting’ was fittingly carried out by none other than Fellow Volunteer AND Mayor of Wexford, Mr. George Lawlor – followed by a blessing by the Most Rev. Bishop Denis Brennan.
Several Dignitaries attended the opening, including the Gardai, RNLI, Fire Service, Coast Guard, Civil Defence, Order of Malta, Wexford Local Authority, and fellow Search & Rescue Organisations.
Guests got an opportunity to tour the new facility and then retired to a reception in the nearby Riverbank House Hotel.
(Photos: Malcolm McGrath)
Mayor George Lawlor addresses Guests at the official opening…
Chairman/Founder addresses Guests & Dignitaries during the opening…
A huge turn-out and show of support was evident from the Emergency services…
Coast Guard and RNLI personnel at the opening…
Official Blessing is carried out by Most. Rev. Bishop Denis Brennan…
Ribbon is cut by the Mayor, flanked by fellow Volunteers…
Three fine strapping young Car-Park attendants on the night!!…
Marinewatch get a massive (15mb) boost from Carnsore Broadband!
Wexford MarineWatch received a massive boost from local company Carnsore Broadband recently, when they very kindly offered to provide us with a High-speed Broadband Connection in our new base.
This is a huge help to the organisation, as it currently uses D4H Software to manage and track its Volunteers skills and training, in addition to logging incidents in real-time. This connection will also now allow Volunteers to obtain the most up-to-date WEATHER and TIDE timetables for Wexford Harbour, which is vital for the work we carry out.
“The tide runs very fast at different stages in Wexford Harbour” said CEO Frank Flanagan; “It is vital our Volunteers know exactly what state the tide is at, should someone enter the water- as it will have a huge bearing on which direction and how fast they will go. This live connection also allows us to plan ahead weather-wise for the night ensuring our volunteers are not caught short in the rain”.
New Operations Base to open shortly.
We are looking forward to opening our new Base over the coming months, once we secure enough funding to complete it. For the past year and a half, our Volunteers have worked out of the back of a vehicle in all kinds of weather – resulting in putting rain-gear on over clothes which were already wet. We also had major storage issues for equipment.
We recently purchased and took delivery of a 20ft X 8ft Portacabin, which is now located alongside the river with the kind permission of Wexford Local Authority and Wexford Harbour Master.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank those people who have donated equipment for the Base, including financial donations and fundraising to date. A lot done, a lot more to do!!
Joint training exercise with Wexford RNLI
Wexford RNLI and Wexford Marinewatch joined forces last Sunday morning to carry out a live training exercise in Wexford Harbour.
Wexford Marinewatch which was established over a year ago to reduce deaths in the Harbour by carrying out safety prevention patrols, got the opportunity to put their equipment and skills to the test with the help of their colleagues in Wexford Lifeboat.
In the first ever co-ordinated exercise between the two organisations, Marinewatch Volunteers were positioned at various locations around the Harbour including the Bridge, as they would be on a normal night. Lifeboat volunteers then released a training dummy to simulate a person falling into the Harbour and Marinewatch Volunteers got the opportunity to spring into action.
Throughout the exercise, several scenarios were covered – including throwing safety devices and someone entering the water from the Marina. A Lifeboat crewmember entered the water to demonstrate a ‘casualty’ – allowing the Marinewatch volunteers gain first-hand experience of how powerful the tides in Wexford harbour can be, and how quickly a person can be swept out to sea.
Both organisations gained invaluable knowledge of each other from the exercise, and more are planned for the near future.
A spokesperson for Wexford Marinewatch stated: “It was a fantastic opportunity for us to train with such an experienced team of people like Wexford Lifeboat. This strengthened the relationship between both organisations and allowed us to co-ordinate our rescue efforts to be most effective, allowing swift recovery of a casualties by the Lifeboat crew. With the flow of tides and the cold water in the Harbour, every second is vital”.
If you are contemplating suicide or need assistance, you can contact the 1Life Helpline on 1800 247 100. If you see anyone in trouble on or near the water, dial ‘999 or 112’ and ask for the Coast Guard.
RNLI Crew on the day: John Michael Murphy (Helm), Lorraine Galvin,
Frank O’Brien & Robbie Connolly. Shore Crew: Philip Scallan & Nick
Bowie (Safety & on-scene Co-ordination).
MarineWatch St.Patricks Parade Entry!
Volunteer Barry Wadding collects a trophy on behalf of Marinewatch
at the St. Patricks Day Parade prizegiving, from Mayor of Wexford
(and fellow volunteer) George Lawlor…..
MarineWatch display their new vehicle to the public for the first time at the Parade…
Mickey & Minnie Mouse team up with Marinewatch complete with Lifejackets!
Volunteers Ronan Finn & Ken Roche leading the way…
Volunteer & MarineWatch Committee member Sgt. Whelan makes sure everything
runs smoothly and ensures everybody had a great day!…
Our team of Kids pauses for photographers at the viewing stand…
Volunteers wait eagerly to join their slot in the Parade…
‘Selfie’ by our friends in the RNLI, who were on the water for the
Parade, making sure everybody was safe – complete with
‘Lucky Leprechaun’ on Comms… 😉
Spectacular Raffle under way for Mothers Day!
Wexford MarineWatch are currently holding a Monster Raffle to raise much needed funds. Tickets are a just €2 (or 3 for €5) and can be purchased from Hynes Jewellers, 19 North Main Street Wexford – or from any Volunteer. There are some spectacular prizes up for grabs, with the ‘jewel on the crown’ being a Diamond Pendant valued at over €2.5K – very kindly donated by Fiona Hynes, of Hynes Jewellers themselves. Make sure you don’t miss out 😉
Marinewatch would like to extend their thanks to all the people who sponsored and donated prizes to allow this raffle to happen, and to the Volunteers & Hynes Jewellers for helping to sell the tickets.
MarineWatch launches more merchandise!
There are now even more ways to support MarineWatch! – we have just launched our new ‘Marinewatch Mug’ which is available exclusively from ‘Blazing Embroidery/Logos’, at Cresent Quay, Wexford. Mugs are €10 and proceeds go to Marinewatch to fund ongoing costs like fuel etc.
We have also just launched our new car-sticker, which is currently in big demand! Make sure you pick one up today and help get our name out there and raise awareness!…
And remember you can still also purchase MarineWatch Fleece Hoodies and Polo shirts at Wexford Swimming Pool, in Ferrybank, Wexford also.
MarineWatch operate additional Safety patrols during recent Storm
With high winds, torrential rain, and a very much REAL threat of the River Slaney bursting its banks on Wexford Quayfront recently, Wexford Marinewatch placed additional safety patrols along the Quayfront to ensure no-one got too close or got into difficulty. Conditions were very similar to those of 26th December, when a Male had to be rescued by volunteers after he got swept off the Quay and into the Harbour.
Wexford RNLI Crews were on standby in their (flooded!) boathouse and monitored tide & weather conditions closely with Marinewatch Volunteers. Luckily there were no incidents to report, and thankfully the tide defences held up and no major flooding occured.
(Lifeboat Crew & MarineWatch Volunteers join forces upstairs in the RNLI Boathouse, which was used as the ‘Nerve Centre’ for monitoring the storm and potential flooding to the Town…)
MarineWatch Interviewed for RTE’s “Today Show”
Wexford Marinewatch were visited by Maura Deranne, of RTE’s ‘Today Show’ – to film our Voluntary Crews in action and see why the organisation has been so successful. The clip was aired live on television the following week.
Many thanks Dathai, Maura, Tara and all the Crew at RTE.
Nolan Transport Ltd. show their support!
The management & staff of one of Irelands largest International Haulage Companies, NOLAN TRANSPORT LTD. based in New Ross, showed their support for Marinewatch recently by having a “Christmas Jumper Day”.
They sold an array of Cupcakes, Mince Pies and Mulled Wine throughout the day, while staff got into the festive spirit by wearing Christmas jumpers and Novelty clothing. They raised in excess of €350 for Wexford Marinewatch, which will go towards the purchase of vital Safety equipment for our volunteers. THANKS GUYS!
Nolan Transport Website
Wexford Sub Aqua Club dives in to help MarineWatch
Wexford Sub Aqua club very kindly decided to donate their membership fees again this year to charity. Wexford Marinewatch was one of this years lucky recipients – and was recently presented with a cheque for €100 by club members on Wexford Quayfront. “Such funding and donations are vital for the day to day operation of the organisation and we are extremely grateful for their generosity” said Chairman Frank Flanagan.
Wexford Sub Aqua Club often get called in to assist when someone tragically enters the Harbour – so they are only too well aware of the importance of the Marinewatch scheme.
MarineWatch get a massive ‘shock’ from the ESB!
Wexford Marinewatch got a fantastic boost today, in the form of funding from ‘ESB Electric Aid Ireland’ to the tune of €15,000. The organisation submitted an application for grant-aid last September, and were successful with their submission. ESB Electric Aid Ireland gives grant-aid in excess of €1m each year, to both Homeless and Suicide charities.
The applications are evaluated on their merit and MarineWatch was deemed to be a much worthy recipient.
“We are delighted with this funding as it will now allow us to expand and improve our operation in 2014” said the Chairman Frank Flanagan; “It is also recognition for the hard work our volunteers have done to date and the lives that they have saved”.
Frank singled out Mr. Joe Mac Avin of the ‘3T’s’ Charity, who also attended on the day. “Joe has been a pillar of support & advice to our organisation since our inception in 2012. Without his advice, experience, encouragement and funding, MarineWatch would not have been so successful” he said.
The 3T’s charity finance the ” 1-LIFE” 24hr Suicide helpline, in conjunction with Console.
Pictured at the Cheque presentation;
Neil Murphy (Garda – Community Policing Unit), Michael O’Connor (ESB Electric Aid Ireland), George Lawlor (Mayor of Wexford), Frank Flanagan (Chairman/Founder), and Joe Mac Avin (3T’s Charity).
Photo was taken in horrendous weather, hence the lack of smiles!!
Man Plucked from Icy water by MarineWatch Volunteers
27th December 2013
At the height of the storm last night, which saw hurricane-force winds batter the south-east, one of our patrols
observed a male very close to the waters edge. As they were about to approach him to request he go somewhere safer, he was blown over the edge by a huge gust of wind and down into the icy water below.
The rapid response by Marinewatch volunteers enabled the man to be recovered more or less immediately. Apart from being wet, he was unharmed and did not require any medical assistance. Emergency Services were summoned to the scene however, as per MarineWatch standard protocol when someone enters the water.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARINEWATCH!
12th December 2013
Wexford Marinewatch has reached a HUGE Milestone today – its the first anniversary of its establishment –
And its the first time in TWELVE YEARS no-one has died in Wexford Harbour!
Have a look at our new video just released today!:
MARINEWATCH SAVE ANOTHER LIFE FROM SUICIDE
Irish Independent – 24th September 2013.
CLICK HERE TO READ ARTICLE
It is not standard protocol for Marinewatch to publicise ‘interventions’ we make, for confidentiality reasons – however, some stories occasionally make the news anyway, through various other sources outside our control.
Heres once such instance, where our Volunteers encountered a person on the railings on Wexford Bridge.
HOODIES & POLO SHIRTS AVAILABLE!
Show your support by buying a Wexford MarineWatch Polo-shirt (€20) or Hoodie (€30), available exclusively from Wexford Swimming Pool, in Ferrybank, Wexford, and the ‘REACH’ Charity Shop, in Henrietta Street, Wexford!
One of our Volunteers (Alexandra) models a hoodie for us!!;
Junior Certificate Results Night
Marinewatch volunteers also had an extra patrol specifically for the night of the Junior Cert results – in case any of the revellers got themselves into difficulty in or around the harbour.
There was a large group of teenagers around the bridge area, however our volunteers managed to keep them all safe, in addition to ensuring no Lifebuoys were damaged – which has not been the case in previous years.
Photo: Stephen Conway.
Leaving Certificate Results night
Marinewatch volunteers had an extra patrol recently, specifically for the night of the Leaving Cert results – in case any of the revellers got themselves into difficulty in or around the harbour.
Thankfully the night passed away peacefully.
Photo: Jim Campbell.
South East Radio show their support
South East radio are the second Radio station to pledge their full support to the MarineWatch initiative. Below, are pictured: Frank Flanagan (Marinewatch Chairman) and the Late (RIP) Stephen Dee (South East Radio).
SUMMER PARTY BBQ / Street Party
A terrific night was had by all, at our Summer BBQ Party!
Lots of much needed funds were raised and the support was overwhelming!
Photos: John Michael Murphy – ‘The Wexfordian Magazine’.
Wexford Lady, Aileen O’Neill took time out to bake a fantastic cake depicting a ‘Lifering’, which she presented to the Committee at our BBQ!… Aileen is pictured below, presenting the cake to a hungry pack of volunteers!!
Some of the Committee & Volunteers who attended on the night & helped make it a great success!;
TODAY-FM BROADCAST 24/08/13
National Radio Station ‘Today FM’ Broadcasted LIVE from the Centenary Stores last Saturday to Promote Wexford MarineWatch. Presenter Phil Cawley was also presented with a MarineWatch Hoodie in thanks for his ongoing support of the organisation and the awareness he has helped to create, to date.
Pictured (L to R) at the live broadcast were:
John Dunne (Volunteer), Frank Hynes (Volunteer), Frank Flanagan (Chairman/Founder),
Phil Cawley (Today FM), and Conor Barry (Secretary).
MOTORCYCLE RUN IN AID OF MARINEWATCH
‘Hakuna Matata’ Motorcycle Riders Club did a Charity run recently to raise much
needed funds for Wexford Marinewatch. Over 25 riders took part and visited towns such as Rathdrum, Ballon, Inistioge, and Bunclody – finishing up on the Quays in Wexford to Glorious sunshine, where friends, family, supporters and Volunteers were there to meet them.
(Pic: Jim Campbell – Photojournalist)
Irish Ferries endorse Wexford MarineWatch:
Captain Gerry Burns and the Irish Ferries crew aboard the
‘Isle of Inishmore’ in Rosslare, show their full support for the
Wexford MarineWatch Scheme recently.
The Captain remarked: “I shall wear my Hoodie with pride as a symbol
of my respect and admiration for the priceless and devoted service you
give to your community. We are put in this world to see each other
through, not to see through each other. Semper Fidelis”.
Wexford County Council helps MarineWatch go ‘Mobile’!
Wexford MarineWatch was donated a Jeep recently by Wexford County Council, to assist
in their efforts of safety in the Harbour. The vehicle is an ex-Community Warden jeep which
was very generously given free of charge.
Photo: Committee are presented the keys of their new vehicle from Kathleen Codd, Chairperson, and Mr. Ger Mackey of Wexford County Council.
Photo: Jim Campbell.
**POLO SHIRTS & HOODIES NOW AVAILABLE!**
We now have ‘Supporters’ Polo Shirts & Hoodies available for sale in a variety of sizes.
Show your support today! Sizes available: XXL, XL, L, M, S.
Polos €20 each, Hoodies €30 each.
Available NOW exclusively from Reception at Wexford Swimming Pool.
The MarineWatch Committee is kindly Sponsored with Throwbags by Throwbags.ie
Sgt. Denis Whelan (Garda), Frank Flanagan (Chairman), John Maher (Fire Service), Conor Barry (Civil Defence).
The MarineWatch Committee is kindly donated Embroidered jackets recently, by Promotex.ie. These jackets were donated for the exclusive use by Committee members when on official business on behalf of MarineWatch.
Pic: (L to R): John Maher (Fire Service), Sgt.Denis Whelan (Garda), Declan Power (Promotex.ie), Frank Flanagan (Chairman), Conor Barry (Civil Defence).
St. Patricks Day (17/03/13):
‘Rescue 117’ pays a visit to the Wexford St. Patrick’s Day Parade on behalf of Wexford Marinewatch…
(Photo: Paul Rowley – South East Radio)
“SILVER MILE” Fundraiser on Wexford Main Street (16/03/13);
With the support of the people of wexford, we managed to raise a grand total of €1,801.00
of much needed funds;
Above: 4-year Old Holly Merrigan lays a coin on our ‘Silver Mile’!!
Below: Our fundraisers brave a frosty morning for much needed funds;