Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the Irish Coast Guard issue safety advice for coastal visitors during COVID-19 outbreak

Michaela O'Dea

Reporter:

Michaela O'Dea

Life boat called to rescue stranded cruiser on Lough Derg

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Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Irish Coast Guard issue safety advice for coastal visitors during COVID-19 outbreak.

The Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI  is urging anyone planning a visit to the coast to stay safe and not take any unnecessary risks. Given the current COVID-19 outbreak and the importance of social distancing and avoiding non-essential contact with others, coastal areas may be seen as providing an opportunity to enjoy fresh air and exercise, while adhering to the government’s guidance.

However coastal areas can also present dangers of their own and the two organisations are asking people to ensure they follow essential water safety advice.

Take time to note the signage at the approaches to beaches and walkways, advising of the local hazards. Check, tide times to avoid being cut off, and weather conditions before setting out. If you see someone in difficulty, or suspect that they are in difficulty, or you get into difficulty yourself, please call 112 or 999 and ask for the Coast Guard.

The advice for people exercising on or near the water is as follows:

• Take care if walking near cliffs - know your route

• Check tide times daily

• If going afloat, carry a means for calling for help and always wear a lifejacket and carry a VHF Radio

• Check your equipment is in good working order

• Be aware of the conditions and your capabilities and only enter the water if it is safe to do so

Gareth Morrison, RNLI Head of Water Safety stated that ‘our beaches and coastal areas may see an increase in visitors in the days and weeks to come, so we’re urging everyone to follow our advice and stay safe. As with all public places we’d encourage people to follow guidelines provided by the government to maintain a two-metre distance, follow good hygiene practices and avoid mass gatherings.’