RNLI launches free text to prevent dangerous tidal cut off at Coney Island
The RNLI has today launched an innovative free text message service aimed at preventing people getting caught out by dangerous tides when travelling to Coney Island in County Sligo.
For years the causeway which provides access to Coney Island and the nature of its flooding tidal waters have presented a risk to the public who are unsure of the tide times and the appropriate times to cross from the mainland.
Sligo Bay RNLI has responded to numerous incidents around Coney Island that relate to tidal cut off and activities around the sandbanks and tidal channels. However, the volunteer lifeboat crews have often been restricted by water depth when attending these incidents especially during the crucial early phase of the flooding tide where people are starting to cut off or are bogged in.
It is hoped that the new text messaging system accompanied by signage directing people to the numbers to text, will encourage safer crossing and decision making.
Anyone planning to visit the island by car, bike or foot is encouraged to Text Coney to 53600 (from Republic of Ireland mobiles) or 81400 (from Northern Ireland/UK mobiles) to find out the safe crossing times for that day.*
The RNLI will reply with information on the best times subject to good weather conditions along with key safety messages reminding users to always leave extra time to return safely to the mainland, to never attempt to cross if the strand is covered with water and in the event of an emergency to dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.
Speaking at the launch of Text Coney today, Rogan Wheeldon, RNLI Community Incident Reduction Manager said: ‘This is a perfect example of a community on the coast identifying a risk and working collaboratively to help save lives at sea. By providing the public with the relevant information to make safer choices when accessing the coast it reduces their risk, the risk to our lifeboat crew, and also to those in the community that are putting their own lives at risk to help those in trouble’.
Joe Henderson, Sligo Bay RNLI Coastal Safety Officer added: ‘Over recent years our lifeboat crew at Sligo Bay RNLI has been called out many times to rescue people who have been caught out by the tide. As part of the RNLI’s work in prevention of accidental drowning we now have this wonderful texting system in place with good signage here at The Causeway and we really want to make people aware that is here and encourage locals and visitors alike to get texting when planning a visit to the beautiful Coney Island. We would like to thank everyone involved in bringing this development to fruition including the residents of Coney Island and Sligo County Council.’
The Text Coney launch comes a week after the RNLI launched Respect the Water, its annual national accidental drowning prevention campaign which will run throughout the Summer.
Respect the Water aims to highlight the risk of accidental drowning when people are near the coastline by encouraging safer behaviour both in and around the water.
The campaign is primarily aimed at males aged between 16 and 39 but the same advice is relevant for anyone visiting the coast.
The RNLI is warning of the key dangers that can lead to accidental drowning - cold water, unexpected entry into the water, and rip currents and waves.
Photo 1 Details: Pictured at the launch of Text Coney are from left Frank Carter, Sligo Bay RNLI Coastal Safety Adviser, Rogan Wheeldon, RNLI Community Incident Reduction Manager, Michael and John McGowan, residents of Coney Island, Joe Henderson, Sligo Bay RNLI Coastal Safety Officer, Willie Murphy, Sligo Bay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager and to the front, Johnny Keaney Sligo Bay RNLI volunteer.
Photo 2: Local representatives with Sligo Bay RNLI volunteers and Coney Island residents.
Notes to Editor
• *The RNLI does not provide tide information between 1 October and 1 April due to seasonal variations in tidal and weather conditions.
• Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined gravitational forces exerted by the moon, sun, and rotation of the earth. Tidal cut off can be dangerous. Awareness of the potential risks will help save lives.
• The charity is asking people to visit RNLI.org/RespectTheWater where they will find information on coastal hazards, how to keep themselves safe, and what to do should they someone else end up in trouble in the water. On social media search #RepectTheWater.
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Nuala McAloon RNLI Press Officer Ireland on 0876483547 or email Nuala_McAloon@rnli.org.uk or Niamh Stephenson RNLI Public Relations Manager Ireland on 0871254124 or 018900460 or email Niamh_Stephenson@rnli.org.uk
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.