An end-of-year review by the Irish Coast Guard reveals that the service assisted more than 3,300 people over the course of 2017, of which a total of 335 were classified as “lives saved”.
The coastguard co-ordinated more than 2,500 incidents through its three Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centres based on Valentia island in Kerry, Malin in Co Donegal, and its Dublin-based headquarters.
That is a remarkable, laudable record that reflects well on all members of the service, particularly in light of the tragic deaths last March of the helicopter crew of Rescue 116: Captain Dara Fitzpatrick and her colleagues Mark Duffy, Ciarán Smith, and Paul Ormsby.
The review speaks highly of the courage of not just the members of the coastguard but also of the courage of RNLI crews who took part in many rescues throughout the year.
However, it also reveals that despite the continued safety messages from the Irish Coast Guard, Irish Water Safety, BIM, and RNLI, a relatively high number of people rescued or assisted during the year had not been wearing a personal flotation device, exhibiting a scandalous disregard for their own safety and that of others.
The men and women who risk their lives in the service of others deserve not just our appreciation but also our respect by ensuring that all sensible precautions are taken when engaging in any outdoor activity that poses danger.