AN initiative to reduce the incidence of marine crime on the Mizen peninsula was launched last week.
Details of the Mizen Coastal Watch were unveiled last Friday in Schull. This initiative was driven by Sgt James O’Donovan and local gardai attached to Schull garda station. The aim is to assist in the prevention of the theft of marine equipment and leisure craft that has occurred periodically on the peninsula over the years, and where there has been an increase in the numbers of these types of thefts over the summer months.
The Mizen Coastal Watch also hopes to increase reporting of any suspicious activity of any vessels or boats on the Mizen coastline.
The Mizen Peninsula can have anything up to a 1000 boats and marine leisure crafts moored and docked at pontoons over the summer months. This is not taking into account boats or leisure equipment that may only be brought to the area for a short period of time, according to the gardai.
At last week’s launch, Supt Brendan Fogarty of Bantry Gardai thanked the various agencies who were involved in the set-up of the initiative, including Cork County Council, the RNLI, Irish Water Safety, Schull InShore Rescue, Schull Community Council, the Coast Guard, Crookhaven and Schull sailing clubs, Fastnet Marine Outdoor Education Centre Schull and boatyard owners from the area.
Supt Fogarty said the plan shows the importance of bonds between all the agencies along the Mizen peninsula – working together to promote water safety while also hoping to reduce the opportunities for marine-related thefts.
The division’s Crime Prevention Officer, Sgt Ian O’Callaghan, said the Coastal Watch would increase awareness amongst the boat-owning and using community in the prevention and reduction of thefts of marine equipment.
He said gardai would also offer advice to boat owners about how to secure their items from the threat of theft or damage and Sgt James O’Donovan explained how the new Coastal Watch system made use of an email alert system.
Crime prevention literature on boating and outboard security has been distributed electronically and to marine outlets and shops in the area.
‘This will be a two-way communication flow where gardai will be encouraging members of the public to contact them on seeing suspicious activity,’ he said. ‘Mizen Coastal Watch will be utilised also in the distribution of water safety advice from Cork County Council and Irish Water Safety.’
Cllr Michael Collins thanked the local community for coming on board, and pupils from Scoil Mhuire primary school in Schull showed off their newly-designed logo for Mizen Coastal Watch.