Lifelines and buoyancy aids can often mean the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.
But what would you do if the vital items you needed weren’t available because they had been destroyed by vandals?
That’s the question Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council is asking after life-saving equipment at East Strand beach in Portrush was left damaged and unusable.
In an incident discovered earlier this week, lifelines were pulled from their bags and discarded while their wooden poles were burnt in a campfire.
Condemning those behind the destruction, the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Sean Bateson, said: “This equipment is provided on the beach for a very simple reason – to keep people safe. It is disgusting to see it destroyed in such a deliberate act of vandalism which puts lives at risk.
“Local beaches have been very busy recently due to the good weather and easing of lockdown restrictions, and as we have no lifeguard provision at this time we are dependent on this type of equipment more than ever.
“Stop and think about the possible outcomes of this type of behaviour. We must all appreciate the true value of this lifesaving kit and understand the important role it plays in saving lives.”
“I would ask all beach users to show respect to our environment, and do everything they can to keep the area clean and safe for everyone.”
Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council is appealing to the general public for vigilance around this type of behaviour.
A spokesperson said: “If you witness anything suspicious at any of our local beaches or coastal locations contact Police immediately by ringing 101. If you discover damaged equipment, please contact Council to report the issue by ringing 028 7034 7034.