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Dublin: 11°C Tuesday 19 January 2021

Summer warning: Don't be messing about with smartphones around crashing waves

People are still putting their lives at risk at the country’s coasts and waterways.

0001jpeg Crashing waves at Howth. Source: Dermot McBrierty

PEOPLE VISITING IRELAND’S coasts and waterways during the warm spell are being warned to take extra care – and to avoid taking risks around the water.

Walkers and day-trippers are still taking risks around crashing waves, according to Coast Guard volunteers in Howth, Co Dublin.

And there’s been a developing trend in recent years of people ‘wave chasing’ around the rocks around Hook Head Lighthouse in Wexford, according to the attraction’s manager.

In some cases, people are using smartphones to capture footage of themselves dodging in and out of waves.

Ann Waters of Hook Head Lighthouse said she and her team wanted to draw attention to a lack of awareness around being safe around the water.

“It’s about people not being aware of the waves and the tides – I think as an island nation we don’t respect the sea enough.

People can be down on the rocks and think the waves won’t crash onto them – but they can, and they can take the feet from under you.

Tour guides at the lighthouse had had multiple reports of people taking such risks with waves recently, Waters said – including the filming of strong waves close-up with smartphones.

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shutterstock_559923439 Source: Shutterstock/biegly

Fergus Cooney of Howth Coast Guard said the phenomenon of ‘wave chasing’ was common along the north Dublin headland’s piers during onshore winds and at high tide.

It’s not just something that happens in finer weather: the Coast Guard unit has had to issue regular warnings during winter storms too.

“Unfortunately the Coast Guard do experience some situations where people are attracted by storm conditions and put their lives and at times the lives of young children at risk by walking a pier to get close to breaking waves,” he said in an emailed statement.

Not only are the putting their own lives at risk but also those of the Coast Guard and RNLI who then have to respond to the those in difficulty.

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Daragh Brophy

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