RNLI and Irish Coast Guard issue safety advice for COVID-19 outbreak

People reminded to avoid unnecessary risks in coastal areas

RNLI and Irish Coast Guard urge people to stay safe in coastal areas

RNLI and Irish Coast Guard urge people to stay safe in coastal areas

The Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI have come together to urge 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.

 RNLI Head of Water Safety Gareth Morrison said: “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.

“During these unprecedented times, we have taken steps to close our lifeboat stations and shops to the public. However RNLI lifeboats and stations remain fully operational and we will still launch to those in peril on the sea.”

The organisations’ advice is: “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  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  radio VHF.
  • 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.

Gerard O’Flynn, Irish Coast Guard said: “Please refer to the HSE website for public health information, pay particular attention to guidelines on social distancing including when out and about and as always if you are on the coast or cliffs – Stay Back – Stay High – Stay Dry.”

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