Thursday 1 June 2017
The Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI, the charity that saves lives at sea, have issued a joint call urging people to be vigilant and take care in and on the water or along the coastline this Bank Holiday weekend.
With the summer holidays approaching, the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI want to remind everyone planning a trip to the coast or going out on the water to be mindful and to pay attention to their personal safety.
Both organisations have launched safety campaigns to highlight the potential dangers of the water. The Coast Guard is promoting a new message this summer asking people to Stay in Contact, which aims to underpin the concept that if you are wearing a lifejacket or floatation device and can raise the alarm then you stand an excellent chance of being rescued.
The RNLI’s drowning prevention campaign Respect the Water, is asking people to fight their instincts and not the water, to stay alive. The advice comes as new research commissioned by the charity has revealed that 39% of Irish people questioned said they would follow their instincts and fight against the water, if they unexpectedly fell into it. However, the RNLI is asking people to fight these instincts and remember one simple piece of advice – floating – that could save lives from drowning.
The public are also being reminded to avoid unnecessary risks when walking on cliffs and exposed coastlines by keeping to recognised routes and keeping dogs on a lead at all times.
Both organisations have emphasised the importance of not only wearing a lifejacket but also ensuring that it is regularly serviced.
Speaking ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend, Gerard O’Flynn, Irish Coast Guard Operations Manager said: ‘This is an exciting time of the year to get out and enjoy the coast and the sea. We want people to enjoy the water but ask that you please adhere to your personal safety. Always respect the water and if you plan to go to sea ensure that if you are unfortunate to fall in that you can manage to stay afloat and raise the alarm.’
Gareth Morrison, RNLI Lifesaving Delivery Manager added: ‘The RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews launch to hundreds of calls for help every year in Ireland but sadly, not everyone can be reached in time. If you find yourself in danger in the water, you can help yourself by floating and regaining control of your breathing.
‘We want people to enjoy their day out this summer without having to call the rescue services and you can do this by following some simple safety advice. For those planning to go into the water, the best way to stay safe is to choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the flags. We would remind everyone to always wear a lifejacket and importantly, ensure it is fully serviced as you are risking your life if it is not in working order. Over the summer months the RNLI’s community safety team will be hosting a number of free lifejacket advice clinics and we would encourage all owners to avail of the opportunity to check their lifejacket is safe to use.’
Remember; If you do get into trouble or see someone else in difficulty, remember to call the Coast Guard on Marine VHF channel 16 or dial 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.