Please be alert and think safety near water this August bank holiday weekend
People are being urged to be careful and adhere to all safety measures as we approach the August bank holiday weekend.
Over the last number of years more and more people are taking to the inland waterways and oceans as recreational activities during their holiday period.
The Minister of State in the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton TD, has issued an appeal to anybody engaging in coastal or water-based activity to be attentive to their personal safety and adhere to basic safety measures ahead of the bank holiday weekend.
The August bank holiday weekend is by tradition the peak holiday period, and with many people holidaying at home this summer, it is likely that even greater numbers will avail of coastal and water-based activities.
Water Safety Ireland plead for vigilance after six drownings this week https://t.co/xyXufkcjHI— breakingnews.ie (@breakingnewsie) July 25, 2021
The water safety appeal is being made by Minister Naughton, alongside staff and volunteers of the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI, in the wake of seven water tragedies in 7 days.
Minister Naughton said: “Tragically, last week we saw a total of seven drownings on the island of Ireland in seven days, the majority of which were on inland waterways. I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the loved ones of those we have lost at sea on their heart-breaking and untimely loss. This loss of lives in as many days provides a stark reminder to us all as to how quickly serious accidents can happen. This bank holiday weekend we can all make personal decisions which will go a long way towards staying safe in the water, such as ensuring that swimmers are accompanied ... and letting friends or family know your planned return time.”
The Marine Safety Communications group which is coordinated by the Department of Transport has identified three key safety areas:
The Coast Guard has seen a major growth in demand for assistance this year and to date has coordinated responses to a total of 1763 incidents, an increase of 400 for the same period last year and 150 more than any year over the last five.
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Minister Naughton reminded anybody engaged in outdoor activities to always check the weather forecast and tide times and local conditions. In addition to familiarising ourselves with tides we should also be mindful of the risk posed by local currents and in particular rip currents. Rip currents most typically form at low spots or breaks in sandbars, and near structures such as jetties, piers and the speeds under certain tide and beach profiles can quickly increase to become dangerous to anyone entering the water.
The Minister also appealed to coastal walkers to avoid any areas with which they are not familiar and stay away from coastal and cliff edges. It is important to dress appropriately for the conditions, to wear a high-factor sunscreen, carry a fully charged water protected mobile phone and to bring enough food and water for the planned trip.
Minister Naughton said: “I recently attended a meeting of the Search and Rescue Stakeholders Forum where I saw constructive engagement between the Maritime community, SAR Coordinators and SAR providers I want to thank all those at the frontline of Search and Rescue in particular the three Coast Guard Coordination centres at Maline, Valentia and MRCC Dublin, Coast Guard and RNLI Volunteers, Coast Guard Helicopter crews and Community Inshore Rescue crews, as well as support provided by Navy and Air Corps resources.”
Minister Naughton said: “Remember, Water Will Win if we do not observe basic water safety measures.”
This week, as always, the full range of Search and Rescue (SAR) services will be available and can be reached by calling 112 or on Marine VHF radio. Visit www.Safetyonthewater.gov.ie for more information on how to stay safe when on or near the water.
Safety Guidelines for Coastal Walking
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