The Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI in the run up to the Christmas period are reminding the public to look after their personal safety when engaged in any water or coastal based activities.
They have issued a joint safety message reminding the public to heed simple safety advice when they are out on the water or engaged in any activity along the water’s edge. The two organisations have cautioned that many accidents and tragedies take place involving people who never expected to end up in the water.
There are some key pieces of advice that the RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard ask people to keep in mind when they are around the water over the Christmas and New Year break:
- Stay Back – Stay High – Stay Dry when engaged in coastal walks and avoid any unfamiliar routes and be mindful of changes caused by coastal erosion and the risk of trip, slips and falls.
- Ensure that pets are kept under control in case they get into difficulty and cause owners to risk their own safety in rescuing them.
- Remember to carry a suitable means to call for help such as mobile phone, vhf radio or Personal Locator Beacon.
- If engaged in any boating activities Do Wear an appropriate personal flotation device – it could save a life.
- If going out alone, tell someone ashore of your plans and what time you expect to be back.
- For anybody engaged in a Christmas or New Year swim only participate in an organised swim that has appropriate safety and support facilities.
Always remember if you see anybody in trouble on the water or along the coast or if you think they are in trouble Ring 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.
The RNLI’s ‘Float to Live’ message advises people who fall into cold water unexpectedly to fight their instinct to swim until the cold-water shock passes.
They should pause, and float on their back until able to catch their breath and either call for help or swim to land if it is nearby. The Coast Guard is reiterating its message to Stay Afloat – Stay in Contact, meaning that if they can stay afloat and raise the alarm then they have an excellent chance of being rescued.
Irish Coast Guard Operations Manager Gerard O’Flynn said, ‘at this time of year people love to get out and about. Do so safely and act sensibly and wisely and; if in doubt shout. Coast Guard services will be fully operational over the holiday period.”
RNLI Lifesaving Manager Sean Dillon said, ‘It is much easier than people realise to get into trouble in the water. Whatever activity you are doing, make sure you are aware of the dangers, know your limits and do not take risks. Over the previous ten years, from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day, RNLI lifeboats launched 137 times and assisted 57 people in Ireland. While all the search and rescue services stand ready to help people, being prepared and taking some basic safety advice can avoid an accident or a serious tragedy.’
In conclusion both Sean and Gerard wish all RNLI and Coast Guard volunteers, their shore based support teams and staff, a happy and safe Christmas. Volunteer lifeboat and Coast Guard crews remain on call over the Christmas period.