Irish water safety groups are urging people to be aware of the dangers of cold-water shock as temperatures skyrocket.
The Irish Coast Guard, Water Safety Ireland and the RNLI issued the warning yesterday (August 11) following the release of a yellow hot weather alert by Met Éireann.
With air temperatures expected to reach mid to high 20s, cold-water shock can occur in any water temperature below 15c and can seriously affect breathing and movement.
Kevin Rahill, RNLI Water Safety Lead, Roger Sweeney, Water Safety Ireland and Gerard O’Flynn, Irish Coast Guard in a joint statement said, "With the good weather and high temperatures forecast to last right through to the weekend, we want to remind everyone to attend to their personal safety. With so many people enjoying the water this summer, it’s important that we all know the risks.
"The sea can be unpredictable, and even with the temperatures soaring, the fact is that the water is still relatively cool compared to air temperatures.
"Just because an area looks safe for swimming it doesn’t mean that it is safe. Only swim in areas that are protected by lifeguards or in areas with which you are familiar. In the case of lifeguard protected beaches only swim between the red and yellow flags."
Kevin Rahill said, "Many people who get into danger each year never planned to enter the water – slips, trips and falls can also occur. The RNLI is urging people to Float to Live if they get into trouble in the water. This means leaning back and spreading your arms and legs to stay afloat, controlling your breathing, then calling for help or swimming to safety.
"In the event of any water or coastal emergency, call 999 or 112 or use marine VHF radio Ch 16 and ask for the Coast Guard."
Roger Sweeney added, “Rip currents are difficult to spot but common on beaches and carry you out to sea quickly. If you do get caught in one, the advice is not to exhaust yourself trying to swim against it. Rather swim parallel to the beach until free of the narrow current and then head for shore."
Gerard O’Flynn noted, "Record numbers are also taking to the water on crafts such as paddleboards and kayaks, many for the first time. It is important to always remember to wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid and to take a means of calling for help.”
If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast, or if you think they are in trouble, use marine VHF radio Ch 16 or dial 112 and ask for the COAST GUARD.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.