US Coast Guard life ring found 6,000kms from home

US Coast Guard Life ring
Kilkee Coast Guard member Russell Williamson with the washed up equipment – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

A United States Coast Guard (USCG) life ring has been found on the Clare coast thousands of kilometres from where it was lost overboard in Florida.

The lifering, and attached strobe light unit, were washed up near Byrnes Cove in Kilkee and spotted by the crew of the Shannon-based search and rescue helicopter.

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A rescue boat crew was sent to remove the object so that it wouldn’t prove a hindrance or cause false alarms during a search that was taking place in the area at the time.

Conditions prevented Irish Coast Guard personnel from recovering the objects for several days but were later retrieved and taken to the local station.

After making contact with the US authorities, it transpired that the object was a US Coast Guard life-ring which was lost overboard from a USCG boat based in Florida.

Image: Google Maps
The life-ring drifted almost 4,000 miles from Port Canaveral in Florida – Image: Google Maps

The life ring has US Coast Guard markings as well as the identification number ‘25777’ while the number ‘25472’ appears on the strobe light unit.

The expiry date on the strobe, which was attached by a rope, was October 1st 2013 suggesting that the objects were lost overboard at least two years ago.

After photos of the objects were sent the US Coast Guard it has been confirmed that the ring and strobe light are from one of it’s boats based at a Coast Guard station in Florida.

A spokesman for the USCG’s Atlantic Area Command Centre in Norfolk, Virginia said: “It does in fact appear to be a Coast Guard life ring from one of our Response Boat Small Class 25ft from Coast Guard Station Port Canaveral in Florida.”

“The device attached is a light strobe that is attached to enhance the ability to locate the life ring at night. It has had quite a trip across the Atlantic,” the spokesman said.

US Coast Guard Life ring
The life-ring and strobe light were lost from a US Coast Guard boat in Florida – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

Port Canaveral is located 3,900 miles (6,276 kilometres) from Kilkee where the items were discovered.

Last April, Kilkee Coast Guard recovered an object at Caherush Point near Quilty. The device, known as a ‘Streamer Recovery Device’, is usually towed behind a vessel but in this case, became detached.

A yellow balloon attached to the device activated when it sank to a certain depth and it returned to the surface before washing ashore.

While it’s known that device is used to measured seismic activity, it’s not know what company had deployed the unit.

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