In advance of the May bank holiday weekend the Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) are renewing their call to the public not to take part in any water-based activity while the current national emergency restrictions are in place.
The organisation 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 Coast Guard Search and Rescue (SAR) ground and water teams, Helicopter crews and other front-line emergency services, from being unintentionally exposed to COVID-19.
The 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, the IRCG are urging everyone to follow Government instructions, which are clear: stay home, protect our 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 through exercising on unfamiliar tidal areas. SAR services including the CRBI service(community rescue boats Ireland), RNLI lifeboat service, Coast Guard Helicopter service and the countrywide Coast Guard coastal units are still available, but every callout has the potential to put additional pressure on SAR services and other front-line emergency services as well as potentially exposing them to COVID-19.
Gerard O’Flynn, National Search and Rescue manager, from the Coast Guard said, “Now is not the time to become complacent. Please; Stay Home & Stay Back to Stay SAFE. Observe the 2×2 Rule. 2M physical distance & 2KM travel distance. He added that
‘Arrangements are in place for Coast Guard services including Helicopters and Coast Guard units to assist HSE, Gardai and Local Authorities in provision of community support and other logistical support. We need our people to stay healthy during this emergency to enable us support the national action plan.’
If you see somebody in trouble in the water or along the coast use VHF Ch 16 or Dial 112 (or 999) and ask for the Coast Guard.