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Dublin: 12 °C Monday 10 August, 2020
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'Now is not the time to become complacent': Rescue services urge public to avoid water-based exercise

It’s feared that people may become complacent and be tempted to take to the water or visit coastal areas this bank holiday weekend.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

RESCUE SERVICES HAVE asked the public not to engage in any water-based activity on or in the sea ahead of the bank holiday weekend while current Covid-19 restrictions remain in place. 

The Irish Coast Guard and Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) issued the request to highlight the risk that search and rescue crews and emergency services could be unnecessarily exposed to the coronavirus.

Both organisations are concerned that as the restrictions continue, people may become complacent and be tempted to take to the water or visit coastal areas for recreation, particularly at a time when members of the public would normally travel to coastal areas to enjoy the May bank holiday weekend.

They are instead urging people to follow government instructions to stay at home and protect frontline services, as well as to observe a physical distance of two metres and stay within 2km of their residence when exercising.

The RNLI and Coast Guard confirmed that their search and rescue services would be fully operational but warned that every callout has the potential to put additional pressure on search and rescue services. 

Kevin Rahill, water safety lead at the RNLI said it is also crucial to continue to minimise the risk to search and rescue volunteer crews, and other front-line emergency services, from being unintentionally exposed to Covid-19. 

Rescue services say there have been a number of callouts for the search and rescue services since restrictions were implemented. The vast majority of those are to working fishing vessels and for medical issues while a small number of people have become isolated through exercising on unfamiliar tidal areas. 

“Arrangements are in place for coast guard services including helicopters and volunteer units to assist HSE, gardaí, and local authorities in provision of community support and other logistical support,” Gerard O’Flynn from the Coast Guard said. 

“We need our people to stay healthy during this emergency to enable us support the national action plan. Now is not the time to become complacent.”

The weather this weekend is set to be mainly dry and sunny with temperatures ranging 13 to 15 on Saturday and up to 17 degrees on Sunday. Monday also looks dry and sunny with light easterly winds and temperatures ranging between about 14 degrees in the east, and up to 19 degrees in the west. 

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Adam Daly

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