Safety must be our number one priority at the coast, the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has said.
Alderman Mark Fielding made the plea after a number of call-outs for the Coastguard and RNLI in recent weeks, and the tragic deaths of three people in separate incidents in Portrush, Ballycastle and Cushendall.
“After months of social restrictions, there is no doubt that people want to be able to get out and about more, and it’s encouraging to welcome locals and visitors back to our wonderful coastline again,” he said.
“But recent tragedies are not far from our minds, and my prayers are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives after setting off to enjoy themselves in the area.”
The Mayor added: “I’m appealing to everyone to make sure they keep themselves as safe as possible at all times, while at the beach or anywhere along the coast. We must all respect the water, and act with care and caution. Conditions can change rapidly and you could find yourself in danger very quickly.
“Where possible, please only swim between the flags at a lifeguarded beach and avoid harbours and marinas where swimming is strictly prohibited. Take great care when taking part in other water based sports, make sure you have the correct equipment and use a qualified activity provider to get the best possible experience. We want people to make the most of everything our coastline has to offer, but most importantly we want people to be safe.”
“We are indebted to the expert professionalism of all our emergency responders, who provide a crucial service across the Borough. Please assist them by acting responsibly and doing everything you can to keep yourself and others safe in Causeway Coast and Glens.”
Beach users are reminded that during the summer months, RNLI lifeguards will be on patrol at Ballycastle, Benone Strand, Castlerock, East Strand and West Strand in Portrush and Whiterocks.
If you see someone in danger, ring 999 and ask for the Coastguard. Don’t do anything that will put your own life at risk.