The Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI are asking the public not to take part in any water-based activity on, or in, the sea while the current national emergency restrictions are in place.
Both organisations, this weekend, highlighted the importance of minimising the risk to search and rescue (SAR) volunteer crews, helicopter crews, and other front line emergency services, through being unintentionally exposed to Covid-19.
The RNLI and the Coast Guard have, however, confirmed that their search and rescue services are ‘fully operational.’
The Coast Guard’s head of operations, Gerard O’Flynn, told the Southern Star: ‘Arrangements are in place for Coast Guard services – including helicopters and volunteer Coast Guard units – to assist the HSE, gardaí and local authorities in the provision of community support and other logistical support, and we need our people to stay healthy during this emergency to enable us support the national action plan.’
Under normal circumstances, he said, many people would be heading to the coast this weekend to enjoy the Easter bank holiday, but, given the current COVID-19 outbreak, both organisations are urging people to abide by the Government’s instructions to stay home, and protect frontline services and save lives.
Gareth Morrison, the head of water safety at the RNLI, said: ‘We know people who live near the coast still want to exercise by the sea, but when you do this, please think of the potential impact of your actions on RNLI lifeboat volunteers and other emergency services.’