RNLI and Irish Coast Guard issue joint call for people to stay safe on the water
The RNLI and the Irish Coast Guard are issuing a joint call this May Bank Holiday weekend for people to stay safe on and near water as the expected warmer weather and brighter evenings will see more people spending time outdoors.
The maritime organisations caution that an improvement in the weather does not mean warmer water temperatures and people should make sure they apply common sense and observe basic safety precautions when engaged in any activity either at sea or along the coast.
While the temperatures increase, Irish waters rarely exceed 15C, making them cold enough year-round to trigger cold water shock, which causes the instinctive reaction to gasp and swim hard, which can quickly lead to drowning. Over half of accidental coast drownings happen to people who never though they would end up in the water and are not prepared for an emergency.
The Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI are asking people to take the time to check that they have all essential safety equipment and that is fully serviced and that anybody who needs to use it knows what to do.
- Always wear the correct equipment for your activity and always wear a lifejacket or proper personal floatation equipment
- The RNLI and Coast Guard recommend attaching a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) to your Lifejacket or Personal Floatation Device. The small devices are worn on your person and can send a distress message to the Coast Guard from any location.
- Always tell another person where you are going and when you will be back
- If you see someone get into difficulty dial 112 or 999 and ask for the Coast Guard. If possible look for something that floats or that they can hold on to and throw it out to them.
- Check that all your safety equipment is working and fully serviced
Sean Dillon, RNLI Lifesaving Manager said: ‘The May bank holiday is traditionally a time when a lot of people get out and enjoy the coastline and our beautiful loughs and lakes. Last year Irish lifeboat crews launched 1,145 times to all types of incidents. The RNLI’s ‘Respect the Water’ campaign will be running throughout the summer but drowning prevention should be carried out year round.’
Gerard O’Flynn, Irish Coast Guard Operations Manager added: ‘If you are getting into a boat our message is ‘Stay afloat – Stay in contact’. Always wear a PFD or Lifejacket and ensure that you can raise the alarm if you need assistance be that by marine VHF radio, mobile phone or PLB (Personal Locator Beacon), which will enable responders to quickly locate and assist you.”
IF YOU SEE SOMEBODY IN DIFFICULTY OR THINK SOMEBODY IS IN DIFFICULTY DIAL 112/999 and ASK FOR THE COAST GUARD
Notes to Editor
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a registered charity which operates a 24/7 lifeboat service in Ireland and the UK which is volunteer led.
The RNLI is asking people to visit RNLI.org/RespectTheWater where they will find safety advice. On social media search #RespectTheWater.
Irish Coast Guard/RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Gerard O’Flynn Irish Coast Guard Operations Manager Tel: 087 1770593 or Niamh Stephenson RNLI Public Relations Manager Ireland on 0871254124 or 018900460 or email Niamh_Stephenson@rnli.org.uk or Nuala McAloon RNLI Press Officer Ireland on 0876483547 or email Nuala_McAloon@rnli.org.uk
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.
Learn more about the RNLI
Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries
Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.
The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland