Caution issued for recreational water activities
The Irish Coast Guard, the RNLI and Irish Water Safety have advised caution to those engaged in recreational activities in or near water during the current spell of good weather and throughout the summer months.
Phil O'Rourke, Wicklow Water Safety Development Officer, says "enjoy the water and the fine Summer weather, but in safety so that nobody becomes a drowning statistic.
"I would like to appeal to parents and guardians of young children to take particular care of them at or near water, wherever that may be at the beach, rivers, lakes, ornamental ponds or paddling pools and water hazards and indeed slurry pits on farms, etc.
"Drowning tragedies seem to increase during periods of hot/ warm Summer weather, so be extra careful and don't ever go swimming alone in isolated lakes, rivers or particularly quarries.
There has been a significant rise in maritime recreational incidents recently due to the good weather.At this time of the year as the secondary school term comes to a close and the fine weather is upon us, members of the public are urged to take care when engaging in aquatic activities.
Chief of Operations, Coast Guard Eugene Clonan, said "there has been a noticeable increase in the number of calls over the weekend. Sunday was particularly busy with twenty three calls in response to maritime recreational incidents and he urged members of the public, particularly younger people to exercise caution in and around the water."
Gareth Morrison RNLI Lifesaving Delivery Manager said, "As the weather improves we notice an increase in callouts for our lifeboats. Many of these incidents relate to leisure activities where a nice day out has unfortunately ended in a call for help. Seeking some simple advice before you take to the water or coastline could make all the difference. Our volunteer lifeboat crews are always on call but when every second counts in an emergency you need to be prepared. The RNLI urges everyone to respect the water."
Roger Sweeney, Deputy CEO of Irish Water Safety said that "Ireland averages eleven drownings every month and that constant responsible child supervision will help prevent further tragedies. Parents should check that their local primary school is teaching Irish Water Safety's classroom based curriculum that instils good habits for a safe summer ahead."
• The temperature of the sea, lakes, canals and inland water ways is still pretty cold and waters users should exercise caution and be aware of cold water shock and hypothermia.
• Swim with others, never alone, close and parallel to shore.
• If walking on the beach be careful that you are not cut off by the tide. Seek local information about stranding risks.
• Members of the public using recreational craft at the beginning of the season should check the seaworthiness of their craft before launching, particularly engines.
• When departing check the weather forecast, tell someone where you are going and when expected back and wear a life jacket when going afloat.
• For further information on safety on the water check www.safetyonthewater.ie.
• If you see someone in difficulty in the sea, on the shore, cliffs, lakes or rivers dial 999/112 and ask for the Coast Guard.