Belfast Telegraph

Sea safety warning as six people are rescued

By Brendan McDaid

Water safety warnings have been issued following a series of dramatic rescues off the north west coast.

Four adults and two children had to be pulled to safety in three separate incidents from coastal waters in recent days.

In the latest alert, a couple were rescued from a sinking motorboat in choppy waters off Castlerock beach on Sunday afternoon.

The couple were 150 metres from the shore when the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeguards based at Castlerock beach responded to their mayday alarm.

Commenting on the rescue, RNLI lifeguard supervisor Stuart Montgomery said: “This was a great result for the lifeguards who are equipped to respond to a variety of callouts.

“The (couple) did everything right from raising the alarm to wearing the correct equipment.”

In an earlier incident, a fisherman had to clamber onto rocks as his boat sank off the north coast of Donegal on Saturday. He managed to maintain contact with emergency services by phone.

The man was located by rescue services before being airlifted to hospital in Letterkenny.

Last Friday two children and their father had to be rescued when they got into difficulties while swimming in the sea near Loughros Point in Donegal.

The man was taken to hospital as a precaution while the two |children were checked and found to be uninjured.

Steven Carson, watch manager of Belfast Coastguard, said the most recent incidents highlighted how quickly a day at the seaside can become dangerous and the importance of safety equipment.

He urged people: “Stick to a lifeguarded beach and and always follow advice on the day.

“The sea can be so unpredictable and you have got to be prepared for the worst at all times,” he said.

He said that people using boats of any description should always check the state of the sea before setting out.

Mr Carson added: “Ensure your vessel is duly maintained to a good standard, that you have an alternative means of propulsion — that you are not just relying on one engine — and that your safety equipment is all up to scratch.”

Factfile

The RNLI has issued the following important marine safety advice:

1. Always wear a lifejacket

2. Get the appropriate training for your vessel

3. Always carry a means of calling for help

4. Check engine and fuel

5. Tell others where you plan on going

6. Check weather and tides

7. Free marine safety advice is available on 0800 328 0600 or www.rnli.org

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