#WaterSafety - The Irish Coast Guard has once again warned the public to stay back and say safe in coastal areas during severe weather after video emerged of a young child swept off their feet by a surprise wave.
Independet.ie has video of the recent incident in Portstewart on the North Coast, where a man and the child are filmed walking along the promenade as large waves lap over the edge at high tide.
According to The Irish Times, the Irish fleet of Sikorsky S92s was grounded in rotation for tail rotor inspections after an incident with a helicopter on a North Sea rig in late December.
Many people will be engaging in outdoor activities along the coastline, be it on exposed coasts, cliffs, piers, harbour walls, beaches, promenades or other coastal areas.
And with the risk of stormy weather returning for Christmas Day tomorrow, after yesterday’s blustery conditions from Storm Barbara, the coastguard asks that anyone planning activities on or near the water to first check that it is safe to do so, and to be mindful of the risks and life threatening dangers that can arise without warning.
Christmas Day swims are a popular pursuit, and the coastguard is urging the public to only participate in organised swims where medical support and lifeguards are available.
Lone swimming should be avoided and all swimmers should be cognisant that time in the water should be kept to a minimum as even the most experienced of swimmers can easily succumb to cramp or cold water shock.
A general improvement in weather conditions is forecast from St Stephen’s Day — but spring tides that generate higher tides will peak in the latter part of the week and pose an additional risk.
The three Coast Guard Rescue Co-ordination Centres based in Malin, Valentia and Dublin, along with the coastguard helicopter service and volunteer units, will remain operational over the holiday period.
The Irish Coast Guard wishes to remind the public that if you see anybody in danger at sea, on the coast or on cliffs, call 112 and ask for the coastguard.
Anyone finding themselves involved in an emergency can use phone apps to help give their location to rescue personnel, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.
A four-person delegation representing some 1,000 volunteers with the Irish Coast Guard pleaded their case with front bench TDs at Leinster House last week for the search and rescue side of the service to be safeguarded along the lines of the Garda, ambulance and fire services.
Among their complaints, the volunteers cite political manoeuvring at the expense of the service, along with “decisions being made by managers” in the Department of Transport “who have no direct involvement with the emergency services”.
In other coastguard news, volunteers from the Doolin unit were involved in the recovery of the body of a woman following a three-day search off the Cliffs of Moher. The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.
Following a demonstration by Civil Defence Ireland to West Cork emergency services last week, the Irish Coast Guard and others are now exploring how to utilise drone technology in their SAR efforts.
“It’s an ideal resource in areas like West Cork where you have a lot of upland terrain and rocky headlands as well as huge stretches of coastline,” said civil defence officer Niall Twomey.
“The drone can get into these places much faster than searchers on the ground and do it safely too so it can be a huge assistance.”
Twomey is part of a new project developing drone-based search teams across Ireland, two of which are based in Cork at Skibbereen and Kinsale, utilising the heavy-duty Typhoon H remote-piloted aircraft.
The Southern Star has more on the story HERE.
The overnight operation was jointly co-ordinated with the UK Coastguard who had initially been alerted by the tanker, which is on a transatlantic voyage to the Orkney Islands.
Weather conditions on scene were described as reasonable with northwesterly winds of up to 40km per hour.
The injured crewman was airlifted by Rescue 118 shortly before 8am, and the helicopter was due back in Sligo before 10.30am for transfer of the casualty to Sligo University Hospital.
After a concerned onlooker called 999 when spotting that the kayaker was on the water with no life jacket, Howth Coast Guard and Howth RNLI’s inshore lifeboat were both tasked to the scene near Ireland’s Eye.
In the meantime the kayaker had proceeded around the back of the island and out of visibility from the caller on land. While the kayaker didn’t appear in difficulty, there were concerns for their safety.
A coastguard mobile unit proceeded to the end of the pier while the lifeboat launched on service to the far side of Ireland’s Eye, where the crew located a female on an open-deck kayak struggling in the water. She was brought back ashore by the lifeboat without incident.
“If she fell in the water, she had no means of staying afloat as she had no life jacket and only had a phone to call for help, there can be very limited if any phone signal once you go on the water,” according to an Irish Coast Guard spokesperson.
“The kayaker hadn’t checked the weather, which was unsuitable for the craft she was in. The lessons learnt are you need to have an emergency plan if going on the water – VHF radio, flares, whistle, weather information.
“Equally if not more important, you need a life jacket, no excuse.”
The rescue came just hours after Larne RNLI launched to assist two kayakers in difficulty off the Co Antrim coast, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.
Hundreds had been involved in the search for the school teacher, who was last seen on 9 September, according to Independent.ie.
"Construction on a new building for the unit was set to begin in 2015, but to date there has been no action," said Donnelly last month.
"I have requested that the OPW provide an update or progress so far."
More on this story as it develops.