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Hot weather water safety advice from RNLI, Coast Guard and Water Safety Ireland

Wednesday 10 August 2022

With Met Éireann issuing a weather advisory for hot weather from today Wednesday, through to the rest of the week and the weekend, the RNLI, Irish Coast Guard and Water Safety Ireland are urging people to plan for their personal safety, when visiting the coast or when they are on or near the water.

Arklow all-weather Trent class lifeboat Ger Tigchelaar. Photo: RNLI/Arklow

Air temperatures are set to be in the mid to high 20s. All three organisations are reminding people about the dangers of cold water shock, which can seriously affect breathing and movement, and can occur in any water temperature below 15c.

Kevin Rahill, RNLI Water Safety Lead, Roger Sweeney from Water Safety Ireland and Gerard O’Flynn from the Irish Coast Guard in a joint statement said: ‘With the good weather and high temperatures forecast to last right through to the weekend, we want to remind everyone to attend to their personal safety. With so many people enjoying the water this summer, it’s important that we all know the risks. The sea can be unpredictable, and even with the temperatures soaring, the fact is that the water is still relatively cool compared to air temperatures.

‘Just because an area looks safe for swimming it doesn’t mean that it is safe. Only swim in areas that are protected by lifeguards or in areas with which you are familiar.

In the case of lifeguard protected beaches only swim between the red and yellow flags.’

Kevin Rahill, RNLI, said: ‘Many people who get into danger each year never planned to enter the water – slips, trips and falls can also occur. The RNLI is urging people to Float to Live if they get into trouble in the water. This means leaning back and spreading your arms and legs to stay afloat, controlling your breathing, then calling for help or swimming to safety. In the event of any water or coastal emergency, call 999 or 112 or use marine VHF radio Ch 16 and ask for the Coast Guard.

Roger Sweeney added: ‘Rip currents are difficult to spot but common on beaches and carry you out to sea quickly. If you do get caught in one, the advice is to not to exhaust yourself trying to swim against it. Rather swim parallel to the beach until free of the narrow current and then head for shore.’

Gerard O’Flynn noted: ‘Record numbers are also taking to the water on craft such as paddleboards and kayaks, many for the first time so it is important to always remember to wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid and to take a means of calling for help.’

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