By Dan Walsh
Rebecca Doyle, Fethard RNLI’s Volunteer Water Safety Officer, commenced her new role by organising a Swim Safely Clinic given by the RNLI Water Safety Team which was attended by local swim group, Hooked on Swimming and the local Triathlon Club.
Killian O Kelly, RNLI Water Safety Education Manager, joined Rebecca and volunteer Water Safety Officers Declan Roche and Debbie Newport from Kilmore Quay RNLI to offer valuable advice and discuss water safety tips relating to open water swimming.
Speaking at the event, Killian offered the following main points to the swimmers, “Be prepared. Check the weather and tides, choose your spot, go with a buddy or group and have the right equipment with you. Make sure you acclimatise to avoid cold water shock. Be seen by wearing a bright coloured swim hat and take a tow float. Rotate members of the group on shore to act as a shore safety person.”
Killian went on to advise about ‘the importance always having a means to call 999 or 112 for help, in the form of a dry pouch to hold your mobile phone or a pea less whistle if you have someone listening out on shore.’
As the event was attended by two local swimming groups, the Water Safety Team also discussed the huge benefits of the clubs having their own incident action plan, in case a member gets into trouble in the water.
The information offered on the evening was well received by all who attended, and they all received RNLI waterproof mobile phone holders. Speaking after the event, Rebecca Doyle said: “It was fantastic to see all the swimmers on Baginbun listening attentively to the Water Safety Team and taking on board our advice. We spoke about the benefits of having a whistle tied to your tow float while out swimming and I am delighted to say there were quite a few ordered online in the days following our clinic.”
This event marked the first of many that Rebecca will hold in her new role as Fethard RNLI’s Water Safety Officer.