Last weekend busiest for search and rescue since 1991
The Irish Coast Guard has today launched its new ‘Stay Safe on the Water’ TV advertising campaign aimed at families, leisure users and the fishing industry during the busy summer months. This is the Coast Guard’s first TV advertisement and it will premiere on RTE One television this evening after 6pm. The Coast Guard was motivated to launch its first TV water safety campaign following the success of the RSA (Road Safety Authority) TV campaigns. The new 20 second adverts will run from now until the end of August.
There have been a total of 11* deaths by drowning in Irish waters so far this year, and last weekend was the Irish Coast Guard’s busiest since 1991 for search and rescue incidents.
Speaking , Manager of the Irish Coast Guard Declan Geogheghan said: “This summer, we began our 2013 safety awareness campaign in May and we want to strongly get across the safety message to families, leisure users and the fishing industry about going out on the water. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors this summer weather but remember to heed our advice to ensure that you and your family and friends stay safe.”
Last Saturday and Sunday saw more than 53 Coast Guard search and rescue incidents taking place around the country. Of these, 21 were co-ordinated by the Dublin Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC), 18 by Valentia MRCC and 14 by Malin MRCC.
These incidents ranged from missing persons, swimmers in difficulty, vessels broken down, missing children, jetskis and speedboats operating in a hazardous way and urgent medical evacuations. The Coast Guard helicopters alone (not including any of the other Coast Guard Units) were tasked a massive 18 times over the weekend.
“The pleasant, warm weather brings thousands of people to our coastlines, to our beaches and the outdoors. We want everyone to enjoy the outdoors but to remember to take simple, basic advice about staying safe on the water and along cliff paths, when hill walking and enjoying the outdoors. Time and again, we see people ignoring basic safety advice, taking risks and then getting into difficulty, sometimes leading to loss of life. The Coast Guard is a 24/7 service but we must again advise caution as too many people are taking risks and ignoring our advice,” Mr Geoghegan said.
“Two people unfortunately lost their lives in drowning incidents over the weekend and that has caused devastation to two families. On behalf of the Coast Guard, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to the families concerned. We had incidents last weekend where people ventured out on the water in boats that were ill-equipped, we saw people on jet-skis and in speedboats acting in a manner that is hazardous to swimmers, people who have ignored our advice and jumped off bridges into the water below. Others ventured out on the water using inflatable devices which are more suited to swimming pools, which can be easily swept out to sea.”
For specific advice and information on any water and coastal activity, visit www.safetyonthewater.ie
Throughout the summer (as at other times of the year), Coast Guard Units throughout Ireland will patrol our waterways and coastlines issuing safety advice and information to holidaymakers, tourists and marine users.
The following are general safety tips and advice from the Coast Guard to help enjoy the water and coastal activities in your area this weekend and this bank holiday weekend and throughout the summer:
Only swim at beaches and waterways that have lifeguards on duty and pay attention to the safety flags. Ask the Lifeguard for advice about safety and water conditions and adhere to their instructions. Avoid using inflatable toys, such as lilos and rubber rings, on the water.
There is safety in numbers, so never be alone if possible. Let somebody know when and where you are going and what time you will be back. Stay well away from the cliff edge, both top and bottom. Don’t attempt to rescue people or pets if they fall over the edge. If assistance is required dial 999/112 and ask for the Coast Guard.
Water Sports and Coastal Activities
Before going to sea check local weather conditions and tides in the area. Wear correctly maintained and fitting lifejackets that are suitable for the activity. Lifejackets are of no use unless they are worn. Ensure your craft is fit for purpose. Always advise someone as to where you are going and the time of your intended return. Do not overload the craft. If you are in difficulty or see someone in difficulty and requiring assistance dial 999/112 and ask for Coast Guard.
Finally, under no circumstances should anyone ever engage in water activities under the influence of alcohol.