RNLI and Irish Coast Guard issue safety advice for coastal visitors
The Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) is urging anyone planning a visit to the coast to stay safe and not take any unnecessary risks.
Given the current COVID-19 outbreak and the importance of social distancing and avoiding non-essential contact with others, coastal areas may be seen as providing an opportunity to enjoy fresh air and exercise while adhering to the government’s guidance. However coastal areas can also present dangers of their own and the two organisations are asking people to ensure they follow essential water safety advice.
Take time to note the signage at the approaches to beaches and walkways advising of the local hazards. Check tide times to avoid being cut off and weather conditions before setting out,. If you see someone in difficulty, or suspect they are in difficutly or you get into difficulty yourself, please call 112 or 999 and ask for the Coast Guard.
The advice for people exercising on or near the water is as follows:
Take care if walking near cliffs - know your route
Check tide times daily
If going afloat, carry a means for calling for help and always wear a lifejacket and caryy a radio VHF.
Check your equipment is in good working order
Be aware of the conditions and your capabilities and only enter the water if it is safe to do so
Gareth Morrison, RNLI Head of Water Safety, said: ‘Our beaches and coastal areas may see an increase in visitors in the days and weeks to come, so we’re urging everyone to follow our advice and stay safe. ‘As with all public places we’d encourage people to follow guidelines provided by the government to maintain a two-metre distance, follow good hygiene practices and avoid mass gatherings.’
‘During these unprecedented times, we have taken steps to close our lifeboat stations and shops to the public. However RNLI lifeboats and stations remain fully operational and we will still launch to those in peril on the sea.’
Gerard O’Flynn , Irish Coast Guard added: “Please refer to the HSE website for public health information (www. HSE.ie), pay particular attention to guidelines on social distancing including when out and about and as always if you are on the coast or cliffs – Stay Back – Stay Highh – Stay Dry”
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Niamh Stephenson, RNLI Ireland Media Manager on 087 1254 124 or Niamh_Stephenson@rnli.org.uk or Nuala McAloon, RNLI Ireland Media Officer on 087 648 3547 or email Nuala_McAloon@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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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.