|Posted on June 17, 2015 at 11:40 AM|
Clogherhead RNLI is encouraging leisure craft owners to get their lifejackets checked free of charge by the RNLI at the upcoming Drogheda Maritime Festival this weekend.
Prior to going out on the water for the season, everyone attending the festival is asked to visit the RNLI stand on North Quay anytime during the day (Saturday and Sunday 20-21 June) and get their lifejackets assessed.
Personal safety equipment is the focus of this year’s RNLI Sea Safety awareness campaign at the festival. As well as carrying out rescues, the RNLI also aims to save lives at sea by preventing people from getting into difficulty.
‘Come and visit us at our stand where safety advice for all water users including fishermen, motor-boaters and sailors will be available,’ said Gerry Kelly, Clogherhead RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer.
‘No matter the reason, training or out on a call out, RNLI crew members at Clogherhead and elsewhere always wear lifejackets. They know that, whatever the weather, the sea is unpredictable and can turn at a moment’s notice. They see people caught out all the time, people who risk or even lost their lives because they did not prepare properly. A lifejacket will buy you vital time in the water and could save your life, but only if you’re wearing it.’
Statistics from 2013 shows that in Ireland RNLI Lifeboats launched 1,087 times, rescued 1,278 people and saved 45 lives.
There were 91 deaths by drowning in Ireland that year.
‘This figure was down on previous years, but is still too high,’ Mr Kelly continued. ‘An examination of drownings over the years shows that poor or inadequate equipment (e.g. boats or lifejackets) and not wearing a correctly fitting lifejackets were factors in many deaths.’
Research conducted on behalf of the RNLI reveals that 98% of sailors and motor boaters own lifejackets, but less than half actually claim to always wear them when on board.
The charity wishes to use the Roadshow in Drogheda to change attitudes when it comes to wearing, servicing and checking lifejackets.
‘In an emergency there is not always time to make sure your lifejackets are in working order and it’s the wrong time to discover that you do not know how to operate one. The RNLI Roadshow is a chance for all water users to bring their lifejackets along for a visual check as well as to learn how to operate and maintain them properly. We want to help the boating community and all water users to become as familiar with their lifejackets as they would any other piece of personal protective kit such as waterproof jackets. We are committed to preventing tragedies in and around water by raising risk awareness and increasing safe behaviour.’