'Never ever swim alone' - Public warned to be cautious in water over Christmas
The Coast Guard and RNLI are appealing to the public to exercise caution near water during Christmas and the New Year.
They issued the appeal today after the cancellation of many traditional winter swims, and are warning anybody planning the activity to check up-to-date Covid guidance and to ensure safety.
Both organisations are highlighting the risks of cold water shock, which is a danger for anyone entering water 15 degrees celsius or below.
Irish Coast Guard Operations Manager, Micheál O’Toole, said, "It is important to distinguish between the traditional Christmas quick dip and longer swims. Open water swimming at this time of the year is only for experienced participants and never ever swim alone.”
Ireland's sea temperatures at this time of year are approximately 6-10 degrees censius. This reportedly poses a risk of hypothermia for even the most seasoned open water swimmers.
The groups have shared safety tips while open swimming, including never swimming alone, wearing a wetsuit, getting used to cold water slowly, swimming within your depth and checking the weather forecast.
If you see somebody in trouble in water Dial 112 or use Marine VHF radio CH 16 and ask for the Coast Guard.
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