The Irish Coast Guard is asking people to take some basic steps to stay safe while enjoying outdoor activities this holiday weekend.
Coast Guard spokesman Micheál O’Toole said people should also be mindful of conditions in the sea and inland lakes as they can change quite rapidly.
He told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that certain devices – such as inflatable toys – were not appropriate to use in open water.
As the weather gets warmer people will be resuming outdoor activities, and Mr O’Toole advised that equipment should be examined to ensure it was in good condition and had been appropriately serviced.
Anyone going into or onto the water should be properly equipped and should have the means to alert the emergency services. It was not enough to have a mobile phone, he said, people should have another way of communicating, such as a flare or a personal locator beacon.
“The simple message is to take a precautionary approach” he said.
The Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland have issued joint guidance for people to stay safe in the water. If heading out on the water or visiting the coast:
- Always check the weather and tides
- Carry a reliable means of raising the alarm (i.e. VHF radio or phone)
- Tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back
- Wear a suitable Personal Flotation Device on the water
- Watch out for incoming tides to avoid getting cut off. With High Tides ranging from midday to early evening depending on the part of the coast, it is important that people check before walking along the coast.
If you are swimming:
- Water temperatures are still cold at this time of the year, consider wearing a wetsuit to stay warm
- Acclimatise slowly
- Wear a bright swimming cap and consider a tow float to increase your visibility
- Never swim alone and always ensure that your activity is being monitored by a colleague