Bank Holiday appeal from Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland

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Galway Daily news Bank Holiday appeal from Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland
Photo Credit: RNLI/Eilish Power

The Coast Guard, RNLI, and Water Safety Ireland have issued a joint appeal for people to stay safe on or near the water this Bank Holiday Weekend.

As alcohol is a contributory factor in around one third of drownings in Ireland, they are also appealing to the public to stay away from waterways if alcohol has been consumed.

Killian O’Kelly, RNLI Water Safety Education Manager, added, “If you’re going out on the water using a stand-up paddleboard, sit on top kayak, or personal watercraft, it is important to consider the direction of the wind.”

“Offshore winds, i.e., winds blowing out to sea, are not suitable for these activities as they can push you further out to sea.”

“Plan your route considering sheltered locations, wear a personal flotation device and have a suitable means of contact on your person that is easily accessible in any emergency.”

If out on a boat, or other water vessel, wear a lifejacket, carry a reliable means of communication – a VHF radio and ideally a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) with mobile phone back up.

Ensure that you tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back.

Micheál O’Toole from the Coast Guard is reminding everyone of the need to check the weather and tides before heading out on the water or visiting the coast.

“We would advise people that the water is still cold at this time of the year, and cold water shock can affect everyone.”

“We recommend exercising caution if entering the water for the first time this year, to wear brightly coloured swimming caps and use tow floats to improve visibility.”

Roger Sweeney, Water Safety Ireland’s Deputy CEO cautioned swimmers to be aware of rip currents, which are a leading hazard at beaches.

“They are often difficult to spot and can quickly weaken even the strongest swimmers and take them away from shore.”

“Never swim against a rip current. Instead, swim parallel to shore until you escape the narrow current and then swim back to shore at an angle.”

Learn more at about these risks and how to stay safe at: www.watersafety.ie/rip-currents.

The three organisations say that if you see someone in trouble in the water, or think they are in trouble, then dial 112 or use VHF radio CH 16 and ask for the Coast Guard.