Public reminded of dangers of cold-water shock as temperatures rise

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The RNLI, Irish Coast Guard and Water Safety Ireland are urging people to plan for their personal safety when visiting the coast or when in or near the water over the next week.

With air temperatures set to be in the mid to high 20s, all three organisations are reminding people about the dangers of cold-water shock.

This can seriously affect breathing and movement and can occur in any water temperature below 15c.

A joint statement from the three groups urged everyone to attend to their personal safety during the spell of warmer weather.

“With so many people enjoying the water this summer, it’s important that we all know the risks. The sea can be unpredictable, and even with the temperatures soaring, the fact is that the water is still relatively cool compared to air temperatures.”

They said that just because an area looks safe for swimming, it does not necessarily mean that it is safe.

“Only swim in areas that are protected by lifeguards or in areas with which you are familiar. In the case of lifeguard protected beaches only swim between the red and yellow flags.”

Kevin Rahill, RNLI’s Water Safety Lead, added that many people who get into danger each year never planned to enter the water – slips, trips and falls can also occur.

“The RNLI is urging people to Float to Live if they get into trouble in the water. This means leaning back and spreading your arms and legs to stay afloat, controlling your breathing, then calling for help or swimming to safety.

“In the event of any water or coastal emergency, call 999 or 112 or use marine VHF radio Ch 16 and ask for the Coast Guard.”