Volunteer lifeboat crews with the RNLI are urging people to take great care on the water this Bank Holiday weekend and during the summer.
It is expected that larger numbers of people will visit their local coastal areas this weekend and take to the water. But there are concerns that increased water activity may lead to a drowning tragedy.
The safety call comes as the charity recorded a sharp increase in lifeboat callouts in recent days. Nationally, volunteer lifeboat crews were launched 30 times in the last ten days compared to just 45 callouts over the previous two months during the coronavirus restrictions.
As the good weather is set to continue for the weekend, the RNLI is concerned that lives may be lost as people are beginning to visit the coast for recreation following a slight easing of restrictions which permit people to exercise within a 5km radius.
The RNLI and GAA are now working in communities throughout Ireland to share water safety advice with GAA players and to deliver water safety talks to GAA clubs around the country.
The warning highlights that lifeguards can’t be everywhere, so protect your family, never use inflatables in the sea and dial 112 or 999 for the Coast Guard in an emergency.
RNLI Head of Water Safety Gareth Morrison said, “This partnership between the GAA and the RNLI is literally a lifesaver. As the coronavirus restrictions start to ease under the Government’s plan, although with the 5km still in place, we are expecting to see increasing numbers of people visit our beautiful coast and take to the water.
“This has already been evidenced by a sharp increase in the number of callouts for our volunteer lifeboat crews. Over the last number of days, we have launched to members of the public cut off by tide, stranded on rocks, swimmers and kayakers in difficulty, children blown out to sea on inflatables and leisure craft in trouble.”