The Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI have issued a joint call this Bank Holiday weekend urging people to take care on the water and along the coastline.
Their statement comes as both organisations note that August was the busiest month for coastal recreational incidents last year. Irish lifeboat crews last August alone responded 217 times to emergencies at sea.
This Bank Holiday weekend, the organisations are urging people to be vigilant and take heed of water safety advice.
Shane Smyth of Bundoran RNLI said they are expecting a large crowd in Bundoran over the Bank Holiday weekend, which will lead to a lot of extra water users.
“The Bundoran Lifeboat will, as always, be on standby 24/7 and ready to spring into action,” Shane said. “We would remind bathers to swim on Main Beach, which is supervised by lifeguards, and to always seek advice if you are unsure about swimming or surfing in a particular area.”
He reminded the public, “If you see someone in danger on the coast, ring 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.”
As part of its drowning prevention campaign, Respect the Water, the RNLI is calling on the public to help save more lives during this busy period by remembering and sharing key survival skills.
Kevin Rahill, RNLI community safety partner said, "We want to start a national conversation that encourages people to fight their instincts around water, so we are asking people to remember and share two skills.
“The first is, if you see someone else in trouble, don’t go into the water yourself as you may also end up in serious danger. Instead, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard. If you want to help, find something that floats and throw it to them, or shout instructions on how to float until the rescue services arrive.”
Kevin said, "The second is, if you fall into cold water, fight your instincts to swim hard or thrash about as this could lead to drowning.
“Instead, relax and float on your back, keeping your airway clear, for around 60-90 seconds. This will allow the effects of cold water shock to pass so you can regain control of your breathing and then swim to safety or call for help," he said.
“Just remembering these two simple points could help save your life, or someone else’s, this Bank Holiday weekend,” Kevin said.
In addition, Gerard O’Flynn, Irish Coast Guard operations manager, said, "While it is important that everyone going afloat wears a lifejacket, it is equally important that every user ensures their lifejackets are regularly serviced.”
He added, "Away from the sea,we want everyone to exercise caution when walking on exposed cliffs. Pets should be always kept on a leash and walkers should avoid areas which they are not familiar with. Our message is to stay back, stay high, stay dry'."
Safety advice is also available from www.respectthewater.com, Shane said.