Wexford MarineWatch’s success is due to a Management Group of ‘key individuals’ from within the Emergency Services in Wexford Town – these include members of An Garda Siochana, the Fire Service, the Ambulance Service and the Local Authorities. The management team also comprises of members from the other ‘Blue-light’ services such as the RNLI, Civil Defence, HSE, and the Irish Coast Guard. This group make the strategic decisions needed to ensure the smooth operation and success of the scheme.
Pictured on the Wexford Quayfront are:
(L to R): Sgt. Mick Hanton (Order of Malta), John Maher (Co. Wexford Fire Service), Philip Creane (Civil Defence), Frank Flanagan (Founder/CEO), Supt. Denis Whelan (An Garda Siochana), Mayor of Wexford – George Lawlor (Local Authority/Chairman), Ger Carthy (HSE Ambulance Service), Nick Bowie (LOM – Wexford RNLI), Conor Barry (Civil Defence). – Missing: Garda Neil Murphy (Community Liaison Officer).
Unlike other towns in Ireland, this unprecedented mutual co-operation and partnership between each Emergency Service and the Local Authority, ensures each Agency benefits from each others experience – and enables a much more efficient and co-ordinated response to someone in difficulty without any unnecessary delay or confusion. It also helps to ensure lifesaving equipment is not damaged or tampered with – and if so, is rapidly replaced and the perpetrators prosecuted where possible.
Each emergency service has a specific job to do in the event of a rescue, as does Marinewatch. The close collaboration between all organisations, ensures each service is clear as to the role of the other agencies involved – which then saves valuable time and unnecessary interference in an emergency situation.
Wexford MarineWatch is a Registered Charity, fully covered by Liability insurance and has strict protocols and procedures to meet all its Health & Safety obligations. Volunteer safety is paramount first & foremost – a rigid training program is in place for new volunteers, in addition to ongoing training and assessment of existing crew members as part of their membership.
Strict procedures are place and each Team is controlled by a Supervisor who is responsible for the welfare and safety of all volunteers while on Patrol. We also have appointed Training Officers and Liaison officers who oversee the progress and welfare of our volunteers. The overseeing Committee/Management Team meet on a regular basis to assess the progress of the scheme and make any adjustments if necessary.
Wexford Marinewatch is living proof that this scheme works very successfully and can save numerous lives when operated and managed correctly. With the co-operation of all agencies involved, Wexford MarineWatch has identified (from previous statistics) certain months/days/times when suicide rates are at their highest in the Harbour area – allowing us to concentrate our voluntary patrols around these times for effectiveness. We also carry out additional patrols at times such as Leaving or Junior Certificate results nights – when there is a higher than normal level of revelers on the Quayfront.
Wexford MarineWatch is well aware this scheme may not save every single life in Wexford Harbour – however by saving even just ONE, it is considered a huge success and worth all the effort. Deaths in our first 4 years of operation were reduced to ZERO – the first time ever, since records began. Previously there was an ‘average’ figure of 16 persons entering the water per year.