Dun Laoghaire RNLI issues water safety plea ahead of busy season
One of the RNLI’s busiest lifeboat stations in Ireland have urged the public to be water safety aware as they anticipate the increased demand for their services to continue.
Lifeboat crew at Dun Laoghaire RNLI have seen their launch requests significantly increase over the last twelve months as a number of factors have worked to raise demand on local lifeboat volunteers. The station, which operates two lifeboats out of the Dublin harbour have urged the public to be aware of the common causes for lifeboat callouts and to make sure they have the proper water safety advice to stay safe on or near the water.
Dun Laoghaire RNLI lifeboat crew responded to launch requests more than 100 times in 2020, an increase of over a hundred percent on 2019 and brought 101 people to safety. The increase is attributed in part to Covid related changes in peoples use of the sea and the surge in Stay-cations.
The introduction of the new cycle path and changes to local traffic systems under the Coastal Mobility Intervention have also impacted on volunteer crews’ response times. Lifeboat crews are paged by the Coast Guard and must make their way to the station through the busy town of Dun Laoghaire to launch the lifeboats and answer the call for help. Crew can have limited information before they launch and treat every callout as an emergency. The public can help by being water safety aware.
Common causes for Dun Laoghaire’s lifeboat launches in 2020 were to swimmers in trouble, people cut off by the tide on Sandymount and boaters in difficulty. The Station hopes that if people are aware of the issues and what to do if they get into trouble before they engage in their chosen activity, then lives will be saved.
If going on a coastal walk check the tide times and always dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard if you see someone in trouble on or near the water. For boaters always carry a means of calling for help and wear a lifejacket. The advice for swimmers is:
Always check the weather forecast and tides.
Never swim alone and if possible, have somebody ashore who is familiar with your plans and can observe your progress.
Only swim in sheltered areas and swim parallel to the shore.
Be visible. Wear a brightly coloured swim cap or use a tow float to increase your visibility in the water.
Acclimatise to cold water slowly to reduce the risk of cold-water shock.
If in doubt, don’t go out.
Stephen Wynne, Dun Laoghaire RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager added, ‘There are always challenges for lifeboat crews when responding to emergencies and our lifeboat crew have been meeting those challenges for almost two centuries. Covid has certainly seen an increase in numbers of people visiting the coast and taking up new interests including water sports. Our lifeboat volunteers have also had to deal with the effects of a new traffic scheme in the area to facilitate the works carried out under the Coastal Mobility Intervention which has added time to their journey to the station, particularly at busy times during the day.’
‘We would like to remind the public of simple and effective safety advice which could save their life. Our lifeboat crews will always respond to calls for help but as we know, seconds count in a search and rescue scenario. We are extremely grateful to the general public for their continued support and we hope the busy summer months ahead will be safe and enjoyable for water users.’
For more water safety advice please visit rnli.org/safety
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Niamh Stephenson, RNLI Regional Media Manager Tel: 087 1254 124 email: Niamh_Stephenson@rnli.org.uk or Nuala McAloon, RNLI Regional Media Officer Tel: 087 648 3547 email: Nuala_McAloon@rnli.org.uk or Liam Mullan Dun Laoghaire RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer Tel: 087 2652098 email Liam_Mullan@hotmail.com
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.