A new monitoring device aimed at tackling lifebuoy vandalism is being trialled in Carrickfergus.
The Sentry has been designed to combat the risk associated with people stealing and damaging equipment from waterfronts.
Lava Monitoring, facilitated by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, is employing the system at the harbour area.
Remote monitoring allows the user to get real time status of all of the safety equipment within their area of responsibility. In the event of a lifebuoy being removed or tampered with, an alarm is sent immediately to the correct member of staff.
Gareth Morrison, CEO of The Lava Group, said: “Due to the vital function that lifebuoys perform it is paramount that they are present at all times. Carrickfergus harbour has been very open to partnering with The Lava Group on this innovative trial.
“Over the coming weeks we will be assessing the benefits that this product can have for our customers in the public and private sectors. We are confident that it will help to reduce loss of life, but we will also be focusing on increasing efficiency via remote monitoring.”
The absence of a lifebuoy can jeopardise the chances of a life-saving rescue during an emergency situation.
The problem at Carrickfergus waterfront was highlighted in July of last year after 20 incidents in which lifebuoys were stolen, thrown into the sea or had ropes cut were recorded over a 12-month period.
A spokesperson for MEA told the Carrick Times there has been no particular rise in incidences of theft or vandalism “although council remains concerned about the consequences for safety of any such actions whenever they take place”.