People are being urged to take care when they are on or near the water this Bank Holiday weekend.

The joint appeal from the Irish Coast Guard, RNLI, Water Safety Ireland and Met Éireann comes as many will be planning how to spend the extended weekend and the remainder of the summer holidays.

With Met Éireann forecasting highs of 22C during a mixed weekend of weather, people are being advised to check weather forecasts and tide times before venturing out and, if planning on entering the sea, to know how to spot and safely handle a rip current.

If planning other activities such as paddle boarding, people are being urged to go prepared so the water can be enjoyed safely.

"While there will be some warm sunny spells, the weather will be mixed this weekend," said Evelyn Cusack, Head of Forecasting in Met Éireann.

"For a detailed 10-days forecast for over 1,000 locations around Ireland including the beaches, lakes and mountains, go to www.met.ie."

Float to Live

The RNLI is also urging everyone to remember to 'Float to Live' if they get into trouble in the water this weekend, said Kevin Rahill, RNLI Water Safety Lead.

"To do this: lean back, using your arms and legs to stay afloat.

"Control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety.

"In a coastal emergency, call 999 or 112 for the Coast Guard."

Mr Rahill said this weekend will see spring tides, so people planning a walk or activity near the coast should check tide times before venturing out to avoid becoming cut off.

People are advised to refrain from bringing inflatable toys to the beach, rivers or lake side, said Micheál O'Toole, Irish Coast Guard Operations Manager.

"Users can easily get swept away from the shore."

Rip currents are one of the most dangerous natural hazards at Irish beaches, said Roger Sweeney, Water Safety Ireland's Acting CEO.

"The strong channel of water running from a beach back to sea can be difficult to spot so the best way to avoid them is to swim at lifeguarded beaches between the red and yellow flags.

"If caught in one, don't exhaust yourself trying to swim against it. Swim parallel to the beach until free of the narrow current and then head for shore."


If heading out on the water or visiting the coast:

Always check the weather and tide times

Carry a reliable means of raising the alarm such as a VHF radio or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) and a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch as back up

Tell someone where you are going and what time you are due back

If going afloat, wear a lifejacket or suitable Personal Flotation Device for your activity

Never ever swim alone. Only swim in areas that are supervised by Lifeguards or in areas with which you are familiar

Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.