People urged to be careful in or near the sea over Easter

Galway Daily news Public input sought on designated swimming areas for Galway City

The RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard are urging people to follow water safety advice over the Easter holidays after a recent increase in call-outs to swimmers in difficulty and walkers cut off by the tide.

Despite the decent weather forecast for the next few days, the organisations have stressed that sea temperatures remain at their coldest at this time of year.

They also warned people out walking near the coast that cliff top areas may have been eroded.

RNLI Water Safety manager, Kevin Rahill, said that people are being asked to think about their own safety over the coming days and Easter.

“Coastal areas and our inland waterways provide a great opportunity to enjoy fresh air and open space,” he said.

But it is important to remember that while air temperatures may be warming up in spring and early summer, water temperatures remain dangerously cold between 8 and 10 degrees, increasing the risk of cold water shock.

“And, if you are out for a walk on the beach, make sure to check the tide times to avoid being cut off by a rising tide.”

The Irish Coast Guard’s Head of Operations, Gerard O’Flynn, added: “The past year has seen an increase in activities such as open water swimming, and incidents relating to use of inflatable toys which are unsuitable for open water.

“Please always be mindful of your personal safety and always ensure that you have a means of communication should you get into difficulty.”

Water safety advice from the Irish Coast Guard and RNLI

• When kayaking and paddle boarding always carry a means of calling for help, such as a VHF radio or mobile phone in a waterproof pouch.

• Whenever going afloat, wear an appropriate buoyancy aid or lifejacket.

• For open water swimmers and dippers, acclimatise slowly and always be visible

• Check weather forecasts, tidal conditions, never swim alone and ensure that your activity is being monitored by a colleague onshore.

• Take care if walking or running near cliffs – know your route and keep dogs on a lead

• Carry a fully charged phone

• If you get into trouble in the water, FLOAT – fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and Float.

If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast, Dial 112 or 999 or use VHF radio and ask for the Coast Guard.