Joint warning from RNLI, Coast Guard & Water Safety Ireland for bank holiday weekend

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The Coast Guard, RNLI, and Water Safety Ireland have made a joint appeal for people to take precautions in the water this Easter weekend.

The three organisations are asking for people engaging in water based activities over the bank holiday weekend to take some basic precautions to stay safe.

Irish Coast Guard Operations Manager Micheál O’Toole said, “many people will take the opportunity of the Easter long weekend to visit the coast and take part in coastal or water-based activity.”

“Having some basic water safety knowledge in advance could make an enormous difference and even save a life.”

“People need to be mindful that the water is very cold at this time of year, and it is easy to be caught out by tides.”

“We extend a special welcome to members of the Ukrainian community, and we are mindful that they may be unfamiliar with Irish tides and local currents.”

“To that end we would encourage the wider public to be mindful of this risk and be alert to people recreating in unsuitable areas, especially in areas that can become isolated with changing tidal conditions.”

Water temperatures are still very cold at this time of year, and cold water shock can affect anyone.

To avoid this, people should acclimatise to the water slowly to get used to the temperature change.

RNLI Water Safety Lead, Kevin Rahill added “By taking a few simple steps, everyone can reduce the risk of an accident in or near the water.”

“If you fall in unexpectedly, remember to ‘Float to Live’ – lie on your back and spread your arms and legs, gently moving them to keep afloat.”

“Keep floating until you feel your breath coming back before calling for help or swimming ashore if nearby.”

Water Safety Ireland’s Acting CEO, Roger Sweeney said that many people may be going for their first swim of the year over the Easter period.

But he cautioned that lifeguards have yet to start their patrols that save so many each year, and urged people to excise caution.

Lifesaving tips from the three organisations for anyone on the water this weekend include:

If heading out on the water or visiting the coast:

  • Always check the weather and tides
  • Carry a reliable means of raising the alarm (i.e., phone or VHF radio)
  • Tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back
  • Wear a suitable Personal Flotation Device on the water
  • Watch out for incoming tides to avoid getting cut off

If you are swimming:

  • Water temperatures are still cold at this time of the year, consider wearing a wetsuit to stay warm
  • Acclimatise slowly
  • Wear a bright swimming cap and consider a tow float to increase your visibility
  • Never swim alone and always ensure that your activity is being monitored by a colleague