GAA and RNLI launch water safety campaign for Bank Holiday weekend

Galway Daily news Safety warnings issued ahead of Storms Dudley and Eunice

The RNLI and GAA have issued a joint appeal for people to stay safe while on the water this Bank Holiday weekend with sunny weather ahead.

As the bank holiday approaches the charity has seen a sharp increase in lifeboat callouts, with crews launching 30 times in the last ten days.

That’s compared to just 45 callouts over the previous two months during the coronavirus restrictions.

As the good weather is set to continue for the weekend, the RNLI is concerned that lives may be lost as people are beginning to visit beaches again as restrictions ease.

Working together, the RNLI and the GAA are sharing important water safety advice and asking people to share the message and know what to do in an emergency

The key water safety messages from the RNLI and the GAA are:

  • Protect your family – we must all take great care on the water this summer and look out for our family and our community
  • Lifeguards can’t be everywhere
  • Do not use inflatables
  • In an emergency dial 112 or 999 and ask for Coast Guard

The GAA has been sharing this message across their social media channels and will continue throughout the Bank Holiday weekend.

After which the organisations will continue their water safety work over the summer and feature players and RNLI lifeboat volunteers giving tips and advice on staying safe on the water.

RNLI Head of Water Safety Gareth Morrison said, ‘This partnership between the GAA and the RNLI is literally a lifesaver.

“As the coronavirus restrictions start to ease under the Government’s plan, although with the 5km still in place, we are expecting to see increasing numbers of people visit our beautiful coast and take to the water.’

“This has already been evidenced by a sharp increase in the number of callouts for our volunteer lifeboat crews.

Some of the callouts they’ve had in recent days have includes people cut off by tide, stranded on rocks, swimmers and kayakers in difficulty, children blown out to sea on inflatables and leisure craft in trouble.

“Getting safety advice out through the GAA brings the message to our communities,” Morrison said.

GAA President John Horan added, “It has been a pleasure to work with the RNLI on our lifesaving partnership for the past three years.”

“With our shared volunteer ethos and our roots in the community, we know that we can continue to help the charity with their vital lifesaving work.’

“The GAA has not been untouched by drowning tragedies. Many of our players and members have suffered because of drowning.

“It would be unbearable if, as we start to emerge from the coronavirus lockdown and start to spend time with loved ones outside and on the coast, that we might lose a loved one to drowning.”

He urged everyone to heed water safety advice, and that the GAA has been proud to support the RNLI at Croke Park in recent year.