Coast Guard and RNLI are issuing urgent Christmas and New Years safety appeal.
And they revealed that 2021 has turned out to be a busy year with an almost 20% increase in calls.
Irish search and rescue providers are urging the public to exercise caution when engaging in activities on or near water in the coming weeks.
They also called on the public to be alert to the restrictions in place to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Irish Coast Guard Director of Operations Micheal O’Toole said: “We would like to especially thank everyone involved in the SAR for their commitment and service in these extraordinary times, with a special thank you to the volunteer members of the SAR. rescue services.
‘STAY HIGH STAY DRY’
“People love to go out during Christmas and New Years.
“For those who have the opportunity to take coastal walks, remember to always stay back, stay high, stay dry – and this year, pay special attention to the restrictions related to Covid.”
He added: “It’s important to distinguish between the traditional Christmas fast dip and longer swims.
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“Open water swimming at this time of year is for experienced participants and never swims alone. “
Both organizations warn of the dangers of experiencing a cold water shock, as average sea temperatures in Ireland at this time of year are 6 ° C to 10 ° C.
These temperatures can present a risk of hypothermia even for the most experienced free swimmers.
RNLI Regional rescue manager Owen Medland urged anyone planning a festive swim to be “very careful” and “understand the risks.”
‘BE EXTRA CAREFUL’
Medland said: “Our wish for anyone planning a trip to the coast or a festive swim is that it is safe to do so.
“We urge everyone to be extra careful and understand the risks and know how to stay safe, before entering cold water. Please follow the right advice for your business and always have a way to call. ugly.”
He concluded: “As we come to the end of the year, we would like to thank everyone involved in search and rescue around the Irish coast and in inland waters.
“These dedicated men and women, many of whom are volunteers, will be on call throughout the Christmas and New Years season, ready to let go anytime and rush to help someone in trouble on the water. . “
WATER SAFETY TIPS
The best Coast Guard and RNLI safety tips for open water swimming are:
- Always check the weather forecast and understand the local effects of wind, tides and currents. (For weather and tides see www.safetyonthewater.gov.ie)
- Never swim alone and if possible have someone on shore who knows your plans and can observe your progress.
- Swim only in sheltered areas that you are familiar with and swim parallel to the shore.
- Stay in your depth – know your limits, including how long to stay in the water
- Make sure you are visible from the shore. Wear a brightly colored swim cap or use a tow float to increase your visibility in the water.
- Wearing a wetsuit is recommended to stay warm.
- Slowly acclimate to cold water to reduce the risk of cold water shock.
- Then warm up. Wrap yourself well in extra layers of clothing
- When in doubt, don’t go out!
- Let someone else know where you are going and when you will be back.