Life saving ring stolen from notorious local beach
LIFE saving angel rings have been stolen from a number of north coast beaches including Red Rock.
The angel rings at the notorious beach have been used during several rescues according to Malcolm Poole from the NSW branch of the Australian National Sportsfishing Association (ANSA).
There are three rings at Red Rock and it was the one at the Coffs Harbour side of the creek mouth that went missing over the weekend.
"The Red Rock rings were put in place as there were a lot of itinerant workers employed at blueberry farms going in swimming there and getting into trouble without necessarily having an understanding of the conditions," Mr Poole said.
Since 1994, across the State, there have been over 80 documented lives saved where an angel ring was deployed successfully.
"Many of the angel rings when checked regularly show signs and scars of being used successfully in many undocumented incidents, then returned back to their location, ready to be used again.
"But sadly there have also been several unfortunate recorded fatalities."
The ring at Red Rock stolen on the weekend has since been replaced but Mr Poole is worried it's part of a pattern with rings also going missing at Evans Head and Brunswick Heads in recent weeks.
"Sometimes rings are removed from their posts for various reasons - they may have been used in a rescue and not returned or thrown into the water and not recovered but when you start to see a number of rings in a number of locations going missing you start to ask questions."
The NSW Angel Ring AR project is funded mostly by NSW Recreational Fishing Fees and are located at known popular high risk rock and beach fishing black spots, along the NSW coastline and rock platforms.
Mr Poole refers to them as "silent sentries" awaiting to be deployed by a person when most needed, providing additional buoyancy while first responders are called to provide the right rescue and recovery resources.
Removing such 'Public Rescue Equipment' PRE from any location, for any other purpose other than their intended use of saving lives, can attract heavy fines.
"We have had a number of successful prosecutions down on the south coast." Mr Poole said.
If anyone finds one of the distinctive Angel Ring orange lifebuoys with the NSW Fishing Trust and ANSA logos could they please call the ANSA NSW free number 1800 079 009 and leave your details with a brief message, or return the ring to your local police station for collection, checks and reuse or recycling.