Members of Howth RNLI’s Community Safety Team were on hand to promote and offer water safety advice at the Ireland Angling 2020 exhibition at the National Show Centre in Swords last weekend The charity that saves lives at sea has been a popular presence at the annual fishing show for the last thirteen years.
495 anglers and water sports enthusiasts from all over Ireland attending the annual event visited the RNLI stand to avail of tips and advice from the RNLI Community Safety Team. A wide range of safety devices, including various types of personal locator beacons, and communication aids from VHF radios to waterproof mobile phone cases were on display at the stand. Visitors discussed which devices were best suited to their particular needs depending on which sport they were involved with.
Visitors brought their lifejackets to the lifejacket clinic to get advice about their upkeep and maintenance. Of the twelve lifejackets looked at three had serious issues which would have led to them being completely ineffective in an emergency, and the other nine had expired firing heads. Being prepared and wearing a suitable lifejacket gives a casualty time for the emergency services to reach them. Each year approximately 1,200 anglers are rescued around the coasts of Ireland and the UK.
John McKenna, Community Safety Officer with Howth RNLI commented, “It is reassuring that the number of anglers who are heeding our advice and wearing lifejackets in recent years has increased, but there is still work to do to get the message out to all anglers. We would urge shore anglers, especially those who fish off rocks, to wear a life jacket and to carry a mobile phone in a waterproof case. Most people don’t realise that once a phone is charged they can call 112 for help, even if the phone has no SIM card and no credit. Personal locator beacons are also useful and anglers should always tell friends or family where you are going and when they expect to return home. We want people to be able to enjoy participating in water sports safely”.
The RNLI is aiming to reduce coastal drowning significantly by 2024 through its Respect the Water campaign, which engages with water users on how to stay safe and maintain their equipment. Anyone who unexpectedly finds themselves in water is urged to follow the RNLI’s Float to Live advice – firstly float on your back, then call for help and communicate your location. Try to stay calm and keep your moral up until the emergency services reach you.