Parents and sea swimmers urged to be safe and responsible along Dublin’s coast

Observe the lifeguards, and stick to Fingal’s stay safe rules

by Rose Barrett
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As the bathing season is well under way and primary school holidays will soon commence Fingal County Council urges parents and sea users to create a safe and enjoyable beach environment for all.

Fingal County Council recognises the indispensable role that lifeguards play in ensuring the safety of beachgoers along the 88 km of Fingal coastline that stretches from Howth in the south to Balbriggan in the north of the county.

This year lifeguards will be on duty at various times at Fingal’s 10 identified bathing areas, with priority staffing given to manning the Blue Flag beaches, namely Balcarrick Beach in Donabate and Velvet Strand in Portmarnock. Malahide Beach, which is not an identified bathing area, will also be manned, and will fly a constant red flag as swimming is not permitted due to dangerous currents, marine traffic and a deep channel.

Observe the flags

Beachgoers are reminded that if there’s a red over yellow flag flying from the lifeguard station, a lifeguard is present and it is safe to swim. A red flag means there is a lifeguard on duty, but it is not safe to swim.

No flag means there is no lifeguard on duty. A lifeguard is only on duty in the summer months from 11am to 7pm on Saturdays and Sundays during June; every day during in July and August (NB locations will be dependent on staffing availability) and the first two weekends in September (Blue Flag Beaches only)

For information on Lifeguard Station in operation this week see Lifeguards Provision 

Keep safe at the beach

To maximize beach safety and minimize potential hazards, Fingal wants beachgoers to keep the following tips in mind:

·  Swim in designated areas: Always swim in areas supervised by lifeguards and obey any posted signs or flags indicating current water conditions such as dangerous currents or undertows.

·  Keep a close eye on children: If you’re visiting the beach with children, closely supervise them at all times and make sure they understand and adhere to safety rules. Drowning incidents can occur in a matter of seconds, and constant supervision is essential to prevent accidents. It’s good to ensure they are within arm’s reach.

·  Follow lifeguard instructions: Pay close attention to lifeguard instructions, as they are well-informed about local conditions and can provide guidance to ensure your safety.

·  Please do not bring inflatable toys to the beach: While inflatables can be great fun, they are not designed for open water and it can take very little breeze for them to be swept out to sea – much quicker than you can swim or paddle back to the shore. Nobody wants to be the cause of a full search and rescue mission that involves the Irish Coastguard.

·  Avoid alcohol and drugs: Drinking alcohol is forbidden under Fingal County Council beach bye-laws. What’s more, the behaviour of those who ignore the bye-laws and drink to excess makes it a very unpleasant and sometimes threatening experience for other people, especially families, to visit the beach. Remember that alcohol and drugs also impair judgment and coordination, increasing the risk of accidents in the water. Stay sober and alert while enjoying the beach.

·  Be aware of weather conditions: Check the weather forecast before heading to the beach and be prepared for sudden changes. Avoid swimming during storms or when strong currents are present.

·  Learn basic water safety: If you’re not a confident swimmer, consider taking swimming lessons or familiarise yourself with basic water safety techniques.

·  Stay hydrated and use sun protection: Protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays by wearing sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and avoid heat-related illnesses.

·  Leave No Trace: Respect the environment by cleaning up after yourself and disposing of trash in designated bins. Take your rubbish home with you, if the bins are full. Also, please do not bring BBQs to Fingal beaches, as they can lead to serious burns if left behind.

·  Be alert: Where an area is not being lifeguarded and you get into trouble or see someone else in difficulty, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

By adhering to these guidelines and being responsible beachgoers, we can all contribute to a safer and more enjoyable summer experience. Remember, the actions of each individual can make a significant difference in ensuring the well-being of ourselves and others.

Park responsibly and think of others as you visit our beaches

As part of its efforts to ensure the enjoyment of our beaches for all members of the public, An Garda Síochána will be working together with FCC under their Parking Control Bye-Laws and Parks and Open Spaces Bye-Laws to enhance community safety and confidence; monitor and enforce Road Traffic and Parking infringements, to combat alcohol consumption in public spaces and mitigate against anti-social behaviour.

A large number of fines were issued over summer 2023 in relation to beach and parking by-laws, making a trip to the beach a costlier exercise than necessary.

With good weather due to over the coming days, the number of people heading to the beach is expected to increase. Anyone who is going to visit should also check water quality information available on beaches.ie. The pre-season testing results have shown all monitored bathing waters are currently excellent.  To find a beach in Fingal, go to: https://www.fingal.ie/visitor/trips/find-beach For further information on beaches and bathing water see Beaches and Bathing Water  For more on lifeguards: https://youtu.be/5G-VwSrPgCM

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