water safety

Planning to take a dip? Despite warm weather Irish waters cool enough to trigger cold water shock

Irish waters rarely exceed 15C according to the RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard.

WARM WEATHER IS expected for the weekend ahead but people are being warned to stay safe around water as the temperatures rise.

The warmer weather and brighter evenings will see more people spending time outdoors and around water.

The RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard issued a joint statement cautioning that an improvement in the weather does not mean warmer water temperatures.

Irish waters rarely exceed 15C, making them cold enough year-round to trigger cold water shock, which causes the instinctive reaction to gasp and swim hard, which can quickly lead to drowning.

Over half of accidental coast drownings happen to people who never thought they would end up in the water and are not prepared for an emergency.

People are advised to always tell another person where they are going and when they will be back.

RNLI Lifesaving Manager Sean Dillon said: ‘The May bank holiday is traditionally a time when a lot of people get out and enjoy the coastline and our beautiful loughs and lakes.

Last year Irish lifeboat crews launched 1,145 times to all types of incidents.

“The RNLI’s ‘Respect the Water’ campaign will be running throughout the summer but drowning prevention should be carried out year round.”

The Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI are asking people to always wear a lifejacket or proper personal floatation equipment. They also recommend attaching a personal locator beacon (PLB) to your lifejacket or personal floatation device. They can send a distress message to the Coast Guard from any location.

Irish Coast Guard Operations Manager Gerard O’Flynn added, ‘If you are getting into a boat our message is ‘Stay afloat – Stay in contact’.

“Always wear a PFD or Lifejacket and ensure that you can raise the alarm if you need assistance be that by marine VHF radio, mobile phone or PLB (personal locator beacon), which will enable responders to quickly locate and assist you.”

If you see someone get into difficulty dial 112 or 999 and ask for the Coast Guard. If possible look for something that floats or that they can hold on to and throw it out to them.

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