Statistics released for 2017…
Total number of incidents: 58 (down from 84 in 2016)
Number of interventions with people contemplating self-harm: 33
Assistance sought from Coast Guard on 8 occasions.
Ambulance Service requested on 3 occasions.
Garda assistance was summoned 31 times.
Wexford RNLI were paged to launch 6 times.
Busiest Month: July. Busiest time: 1.30am Busiest day: Saturday
Marinewatch incidents throughout 2017 were wide ranging – from people entering the water intentionally, to a person who had had fallen and cut themselves along the Quayfront.
13 Ringbuoys also were vandalised/stolen over the 12 month period.
Speaking about the drop in incidents, the CEO Frank Flanagan said;
“Our primary remit for 2018 remains unchanged – to provide Suicide Prevention measures and increase water safety awareness in the Wexford Harbour area. Very sadly two lives were lost to the river in 2017 – the first losses in many years. Unfortunately we cannot be there 24-7, but we will endeavour to provide the best service we can within our abilities, given the resources that we have.
“This considerable drop in incidents is a positive sign, considering we expanded our hours for 2017” he said. “It indicates that we are having a positive effect with regard to suicide and its prevention. A lot of public events throughout the last number of years have also helped to remove the stigma and get people talking about their mental health – events such as the Cycle Against Suicide and the ‘ASK’ mental health campaign”.
Frank added: “We continue to have a proactive management team, which also involves representatives from the emergency services. This ensures we approach all incidents with professionalism and sensitivity. We have become the vital link after hours for those in distress, ensuring they don’t come to any harm until they get assistance.
People in distress are not criminals – hence why the Gardai are not called to every incident. Primarily we prefer to contact a friend or family member as the first port of call, to come and look after the person and take them to safety until professional help can be sought. If they have already attempted self-harm, an Ambulance may be called – or of they are in a dangerous location or attempting to enter the water, the Coast Guard/RNLI will be notified. Gardai will only be called if a person is uncooperative (possibly through drink or drugs) and poses a danger to either our volunteers, a member of the public, or themselves”.
Numerous individuals & families have approached Marinewatch throughout the year and thanked the volunteers for saving them, or their son/daughter the previous night. “Sometimes the reality of an incident doesn’t hit home for them until the following day. It gives us a great boost when these people take the time to come back and thank us – it makes the long nights so worthwhile for our volunteers” stated Chairman George Lawlor.
The organisation has gone from strength to strength over the past 5 years, with recruitment now open for a limited period for 2018. Plans for the coming year are to bolster volunteer numbers again, allowing further expansion of the scheme and to increase Patrol hours.
Expansion costs money however – extra volunteers, extra equipment, extra Diesel, extra training etc.
Marinewatch relies on the generosity of the public to keep its doors open and its volunteers on the beat.
It is now an approved Charity by the new Charities Regulator – reassurance for public that all monies donated go directly back into Suicide Prevention in Wexford.
A comprehensive training plan is put in place for all new volunteers, giving them life skills which they will also find extremely beneficial outside their remit as a volunteer. As all Marinewatch duties are SHORE based and volunteers never enter the water, there is no requirement to be able to swim – which is a common misconception by a lot of people thinking about volunteering. Volunteers are asked to give up just ONE evening per month, on a Rota basis.
If you wish to make a donation, please click here – or to sign up as a volunteer, please visit our recruitment page here.
Remember the next person volunteers save, will also belong to a family – it could be yours.
Anyone in distress or suffering can seek assistance from many of the services available – Pieta House on 1800 247247 (24hrs), The Samaritans 116123 (24hrs), Talk to Tom 0818 303061, Its Good 2 Talk 053-9126596, HSE Mental Health Centre 053-9123899, or contact your GP.