‘A throw rope is cheap, but a life is precious’
UNIQUE safety equipment hoping to increase the number of lives saved in the River Clyde have been introduced in Glasgow following a successful campaign.
Newly-designed throw ropes are being added to life belts along the city waterway after being specially tailored to reduce removals of vital equipment.
Adding ropes to lifebelts makes them easier to use in emergency situations and increases their life saving potential, but the throw ropes are regularly stolen while lifebelts are also routinely vandalised.
In April this year the council trialled the addition of standard throw ropes to 22 city centre life belts, but following a spate of thefts in July only seven remained in place.
Since July a further 30 standard ropes have been attached to city centre lifebelts but at the most recent count, 23 had been stolen.
However, safety campaigners hope the new yellow, orange and purple ward off thieves and vandals, with 70 installed across Glasgow.
Andy Waddell, chair of the multi-agency Glasgow Water Safety Group, expressed his disbelief that anyone could compromise the rescue of someone in distress in the water.
He said: “Sadly this is an issue that has historically dogged Glasgow and shame should be heaped upon those who undermine the city’s river safety.
“But by creating a distinct and recognisable throw rope, is intended that anyone who takes one of these ropes is identifying themselves as a thief. We hope the design of the throw rope deters the thieves.”
The move follows pressure from a campaign by Duncan and Margaret Spiers.
The Glasgow couple have been pushing for enhanced river safety measures after their son Christopher accidentally drowned in the Clyde in January 2016. Purple thread was added to the rope in memory of their son, who was only 28-years-old when he died.
Duncan said: “The death of Christopher is something that we have to live with every day.
“But we have wanted to turn our loss into something positive and we are doing everything we can to make our rivers as safe as possible.
“A throw rope is cheap, but a life is precious.
“Taking ropes or lifebelts is costing lives and people need to think twice.
“Christopher was only in the water for a matter of minutes and emergency services were right there. Every second counts and adding the throw ropes can make all the difference.”