A Canadian Coast Guard hard hat somehow ended up on a beach in southeastern Ireland, encrusted in coral, barnacles and worms.

Craig Butler, 21, a resident of the town of Tramore, found the hard hat washed up on the beach when he came in from surfing at Tramore Beach on Christmas Eve.

"There was so much stuff growing out of the hard hat," he said, noting there was coral, worms and barnacles.

The hard hat's smell wasn't fragrant.

"Once the smell hit me, I put it straight down. It smelled like something had died," said Butler.

He took the hard hat and placed it on a seawall at the beach. He pondered taking it home with him, but figured he'd have to fumigate his family's home if he did that.

Craig Butler

Craig Butler of Tramore, Ireland, found the hard hat when it first washed up on the beach. (Submitted by Craig Butler)

At home, Butler scrubbed himself with soap to get rid of the hard hat's smell, but also Googled the Latin motto found on the hard hat that says Saluti Primum, Auxilio Semper, which translates as Safety First, Service Always. Through this, Butler learned the hard hat belonged to the Canadian Coast Guard.

He then decided to head back to the beach to pick it up, but it was gone.

At some point, somebody took some photos of the hard hat and they were uploaded to a community Facebook page, Waterford In Your Pocket. It isn't clear where the hard hat is now.

Butler says he has found other things on the beach before, such as fishing gloves and buckets. 

"Normally, the furthest away that I found something is in France or Spain. You know, we'd never get something to wash up from as far away as Canada," said Butler.

CBC News has reached out to the Canadian Coast Guard to see if it has any information about when the hard hat dates from but has not heard back yet.