In advance of the May bank holiday weekend the Irish Coast Guard and RNLI are appealing to the public not to take part in any water-based activity on or in the sea, while the Covid-19 restrictions are in place. Both organisations are concerned that as the restrictions continue, people may become complacent and be tempted to take to the water or proceed to coastal areas for recreation.
However, it is crucial to continue to minimise the risk to Search and Rescue, volunteer crews, helicopter crew and other front-line emergency services, from being unintentionally exposed to Covid-19. RNLI and Coast Guard Search and Rescue services continue to be fully operational and on call 24/7.
As the current COVID-19 restrictions continue to apply it is appreciated that people will want to get out for a break and take to the water if they are living or exercising near the coast or inland waters. However, both organisations are urging everyone to follow Government instructions, which are clear: stay home, protect frontline services and save lives.
There have been a number of callouts for the search and rescue services during this time, but the vast majority are to working fishing vessels and for medical issues. Some people have become isolated though exercising on unfamiliar tidal areas.
Kevin Rahill, water safety lead at the RNLI, said, ‘We would ask those wanting to exercise in the water to consider the potential impact of their actions on RNLI lifeboat volunteers and other emergency services if they get into difficulty or if their presence would encourage others to join them.
Gerard O’Flynn from the Coast Guard said, “Now is not the time to become complacent. Please, stay home and stay back to stay SAFE. Observe the 2×2 Rule. 2M physical distance & 2KM travel distance”.