The Summer months are a particularly busy time for water rescuers with many people taking advantage of the school holidays and good weather and this weekend, the August bank holiday weekend is even busier.
The Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI have issued a joint appeal urging people to be vigilant and take care in and on the water or along the coastline this bank holiday weekend. Both organisations have cautioned people to be vigilant and take heed of some simple safety advice and avoid those social media tasks which have the potential for danger.
The recent rise in popularity of mobile phone apps and games has brought a lot of people outdoors to take photos or play games with them. However, looking at screens or taking selfies near the coastline can be dangerous if people don’t take care of where they are standing and note the risks.
The Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI have both launched safety campaigns this summer to highlight the potential dangers of the water. The Coast Guard has highlighted a simple message ‘No Lifejacket- No Excuse’ emphasising that if you can stay afloat and communicate a request for help, then you have an excellent chance of being rescued or assisted.
The RNLI’s ‘Respect the Water’ campaign looks at the causes of accidental drowning, which has claimed on average 23 lives around the Irish coastline each year. These include cold water shock, unexpected entry into the water, rip currents and unusual waves.
Over the Bank holiday weekend last year (1-3 August), RNLI lifeboats in Ireland launched 29 times, with 49 people rescued including seven lives saved.
People can keep safe by being aware of the dangers around them and taking some advice before they head out. If you spot someone in the water call 999/112 and ask for the Coast Guard. If you have something that floats or they can hold on to, throw it to them. Don’t go in the water yourself. Further information is available on the RNLI’s website rnli.org/RespectTheWater.
Traditionally one of the busiest lifeboat stations during the summer months is Dun Laoghaire. RNLI Coxswain Mark McGibney, who is based at the Dublin station commented: ‘Our lifeboat crew are trained and ready to launch at a moment’s notice but every second counts in any rescue and people can help themselves by being prepared and taking advice.’
Dun Laoghaire RNLI Crew Pic: (Courtesy RNLI)
‘We launch to a lot of people who never expected to end up in the water when they left home. Call outs can range from the tide cutting people off, to slips or falls while walking near the coastline. Becoming distracted or not taking note of your surroundings has resulted, in some cases, in serious injury or death. Looking up and taking notice of where you are means that you are aware of any risks and can enjoy your day out without having to call the rescue services.’