Ahead of the August Bank Holiday weekend, the Irish Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland are appealing for people to take care when they are on or near the water.
With many people continuing to enjoy the summer holidays or planning a break this weekend, the organisations are asking people to be particularly mindful to check weather forecasts and tide times before venturing out and if planning on entering the sea to know how to spot and safely handle a rip current. If planning other activities such as paddle-boarding, the ask is to always go prepared so the water can be enjoyed safely.
Evelyn Cusack, Head of Forecasting in Met Éireann says: ‘While there will be some warm sunny spells the weather will be mixed this weekend. For a detailed forecast for 10-days ahead for over 1,000 locations around Ireland including the beaches, lakes and mountains go to www.met.ie’.
If heading out on the water or visiting the coast:
Always check the weather and tide times
Carry a reliable means of raising the alarm should you get into difficulty such as VHF radio or PLB if going afloat and a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch as a back up.
Tell someone where you are going and what time you are due back
If going afloat, wear a lifejacket or suitable Personal Flotation Device for your activity
Never ever swim alone. Only swim in areas that are supervised by Lifeguards or in areas with which you are familiar.
Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard
Kevin Rahill, RNLI Water Safety Lead said: ‘This weekend will see spring tides so we would encourage anyone planning a walk or activity near the coast to check tide times before venturing out to avoid becoming cut off. The RNLI is also urging everyone to remember to Float to Live if they do get into trouble in the water this weekend. To do this: lean back, using your arms and legs to stay afloat. Control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety. In a coastal emergency, call 999 or 112 for the Coast Guard.’
Irish Coast Guard Operations Manager Micheál O’Toole said: ‘We wish to thank the public for their cooperation and support and for the responsible approach displayed when participating in any water based or coastal activity. We would also advise people to avoid bringing inflatable toys to the beach, rivers or lake side as users can easily get swept away from the shore.’
Water Safety Ireland’s Acting CEO, Roger Sweeney said: ‘We would advise anyone planning on entering the sea to watch out for rip currents which can be difficult to spot. Rips are sometimes identified by a channel of churning, choppy water on the sea’s surface. The best way to avoid them is to swim at lifeguarded beach between the red and yellow flags. Should you find yourself caught in one, don’t try to swim against it or you will get exhausted. If you can stand, wade, don’t swim. If you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for the shore.’