Cold water and full moon warning for swimmers ahead of bank holiday weekend

Three water safety agencies issue joint appeal, saying rivers and seas are still too cold for extended swims with strong rip current hazard

Three agencies have warned those planning to get into our lakes, rivers and seas over the bank holiday weekend that, despite rising mercury levels, water temperatures still remain cold.

The Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland issued a joint safety appeal, reminding members of the public to think twice before dipping and take all necessary precautions before heading out on the water.

Water Safety Ireland’s deputy CEO Roger Sweeney appealed to the public to “remember that although air temperatures have risen, our waterways are still too cold for extended swims”.

Mr Sweeney said that a full moon on Saturday will make the coastline more precarious and rip currents will be stronger.


“Swim within your depth at the lifeguarded waterways. A full moon also creates lower low tides that will expose even greater areas of the coastline which often tempts walkers to explore sandbanks,” Mr Sweeney added.

“Be aware of being trapped by incoming tides, carry a fully charged mobile phone, and please provide constant uninterrupted adult supervision for any children in your care.”

Water Safety Ireland also warned those taking part in any water-based activity to ensure they have the proper equipment and know how to use it safely.

In their joint appeal, the agencies advised that the public should always check the weather forecast, tide times and sea conditions before setting off, get regular updates if planning to be out for any length of time and be prepared to change plans or cancel a trip if the forecast is unfavourable.

For those swimming, they should remember to acclimatise slowly, wear a bright swimming cap and consider a tow float to increase visibility. Never swim alone and always ensure that activities are being monitored by a colleague. Swim in areas that are lifeguarded or are known locally to be safe.

Micheál O’Toole, Irish Coast Guard operations manager, added that going out on the water should be planned and personal safety is vitally important.

“We again are warning about the dangers of using inflatable toys such as LiLos on or near the water, be it seaside, lake or river. Please do not bring such items,” he said.

Mr O’Toole extended the agencies’ thanks to all members of the emergency services who will be on duty over the weekend, in particular volunteer members of Coast Guard, RNLI, Community Inshore rescue boats and mountain rescue teams.

The Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland also expressed their condolences to the families and friends of the two young men who recently died in jet ski accidents on Carlingford Lough and on Lough Derg.

Float to live

RNLI Water Safety Lead Linda-Gene Byrne said that if a person unexpectedly falls into water, they should remember the phrase ‘Float to Live’ – to lie on your back and spread your arms and legs, gently moving them to keep afloat.

Ms Byrne added that a person in difficulty in the water should keep floating until they feel their breath coming back before calling for help or swimming ashore if nearby.

The public is advised that if they see anyone in trouble on the water or along the coast, or if they think that they might be, to dial 112 or use marine VHF radio Channel 16 and ask for the Coast Guard.