RNLI and Irish Coast Guard urge ‘Respect the Water’ as poor weather hits coast

Lifeboats News Release

The Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI are urging everyone to ‘Be Aware’ and ‘Respect the Water’ in the wake of recent warnings of poor weather hitting the Irish coast.

RNLI/Nigel Millard

While severe storms and flooding are highlighted nationally, people can be caught out very quickly with many accidents occurring due to strong winds, spring tides and heavy rainfall.

During times of bad weather the message from the RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard is to stay away from the water, give waves a wide berth, and be aware that in bad weather unexpected swells can easily catch people out. Even if the water itself looks calm, waves and tides can be very powerful and pull you off your feet.

Both organisations are advising that if you find yourself in the water unexpectedly, relax and float on your back to catch your breath and try to grab hold of something to keep you afloat. The initial shock of being in cold water can cause a person to gasp and panic. These initial effects of cold water pass in less than a minute, so don’t try to swim straight away. Keep calm, call for help, or swim for safety if you are able.

If you see someone in the water, call 999/112 and ask for the Coast Guard. If you have something that floats or that they can hold on to, throw it to them. Avoid going into the water yourself – many people drown trying to save others.

Gareth Morrison, RNLI Community Lifesaving Delivery Manager says: ‘Irish weather can be unpredictable at the best of times and our lifeboat crews have answered many call outs where people have been caught out by the weather unexpectedly taking a turn for the worse. We urge everyone to respect the water at all times and to keep safe and remind people not to underestimate the distance waves can travel up the beach or harbour wall. Although it can be tempting to get close, it isn’t worth risking your life to take photos or to dodge waves.’

Gareth continued: ‘If you plan on going out walking after a storm or high winds, be wary. Storms and high winds can change our landscape through coastal erosion so pay attention to warning signs, and don’t leave designated paths to look over the edge of clifftops.’

Gerard O’Flynn, Irish Coast Guard Operations Manager added: ‘For anybody planning on walking close to the shore, be it on a beach, cliff, public walkway or harbour facility the advice is; Stay Back, Stay High, Stay Dry.’

For more safety information please visit www.respecthewater.com

Ends

Notes to Editors

  • An RNLI or Irish Coast Guard spokesperson is available on request

Media Contacts
For more information please contact Niamh Stephenson RNLI Public Relations Manager Tel: 087 1254 124 / 01 8900 460 email Niamh_Stephenson@rnli.org or Nuala McAloon RNLI Press Officer Tel: 087 6483547 email: Nuala_McAloon@rnli.org

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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