Coast Guard and RNLI renew appeal for people not to use the sea for exercise or recreation

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This May bank holiday weekend the RNLI and Irish Coast Guard are renewing their appeal for people not to use the sea for exercise or recreation.

While the current restrictions are in place, both organisations are asking people not to take part in water based activities to avoid the risk of unintentionally exposing lifeboat and helicopter crews with the RNLI and Coast Guard, and other frontline personnel, to the coronavirus.

Coast Guard and RNLI rescue services are still up and running 24/7 despite the current crisis, and want to minimise the chance that crews could be exposed to the virus during an operation.

There have been a number of callouts for the search and rescue services during this time, but the vast majority are to working fishing vessels and for medical issues.

Kevin Rahill, Water Safety Lead at the RNLI, said: ‘We would ask those wanting to exercise in the water to consider the potential impact of their actions on RNLI lifeboat volunteers and other emergency services if they get into difficulty or if their presence would encourage others to join them.

“We know it is difficult when you may have been a regular water user and we are looking forward to seeing people visiting the coast and taking to the water when it is safe to do so, and the restrictions have been lifted.”

The renewed appeal comes as more good weather is expected for the duration of the bank holiday weekend, and amid concerns that people are starting to become complacent as the lockdown drags on.

Gerard O’Flynn from the Coast Guard said, “Now is not the time to become complacent. Please; Stay home and stay back to stay safe.”

“Arrangements are in place for Coast Guard services including Helicopters and Volunteer Coast Guard units to assist HSE, Gardai and Local Authorities in provision of community support and other logistical support.”

“We need our people to stay healthy during this emergency to enable us support the national action plan.”

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