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'Don't assume it's safe': Coast Guard and RNLI issue bank holiday warning

Lots of people will be enjoying Ireland’s coastline over the summer.
May 1st 2021, 6:30 AM 13,651 5

THE IRISH COAST Guard and the RNLI have issued a joint call urging people to be vigilant and take care in and on the water or along the coastline this bank holiday weekend.

The call comes following an increase in the number and a broadening in the type of incidents requiring RNLI and Coast Guard intervention. 

The two organisations are asking people to plan ahead for any water based or coastal activities by taking some simple steps: 

  • Check the weather and tide and familiarise yourself with local currents before you participate in any open water or coastal activity. 
  • Always carry a reliable means of raising the alarm with you. 
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back. 
  • Wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid on or near the water. 
  • Never swim alone and always ensure that somebody ashore is monitoring your progress. 

“Don’t assume just because we have clear skies and warmer temperatures it is safe to engage in all coastal activities. Please familiarise yourself with weather and tidal information and take the time to observe prevailing conditions before you commence,” Coast Guard head of operations Gerard O’Flynn said. 

He added that the Coast Guard has noted (on a year to date basis) a very significant increase in the number of incidents being coordinated, in comparison with previous years. 

RNLI lifesaving manager Sean Dillon said: “Our volunteer lifeboat crews around the coast and on our inland waters are expecting a busy season as more people are out enjoying the weather. 

“Many of the callouts we deal with could have been avoided with some simple preparation and planning. We want people to be safe on the water and enjoy themselves. 

“Whatever activity you are planning please take a few minutes to check the relevant safety advice and always dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard if you see someone in trouble on the water.” 

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Anyone intending to take a walk along the coast is being reminded that it is important to check the times of high tide to avoid being stranded on a cove or sandbank that becomes cut off by the rising tide. 

People heading out to swim are being asked to wear a brightly coloured swim cap and to consider using a tow float. 

The two organisations warned that water temperatures are still relatively cold at around 10 degrees, making cold water shock a danger. They said it’s also important to acclimatise when entering the water. 

If you get into trouble or see someone else in difficulty, call 999 or 112 or use Marine VHF Channel 16 and ask for the Coast Guard.

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Hayley Halpin

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