OutmoreNI issues call to stay safe in water this Summer

OutmoreNI, the brand behind a responsible use of the outdoors campaign, is encouraging people across Northern Ireland to stay safe on the water this summer. With water sports growing in popularity, more people are taking to the coast and inland waters during summer months. However, many do so with limited understanding of how to prepare correctly and often misjudge the fast-changing temperament of the water.

Beverley Magowan, Marketing Manager at OutmoreNI, says: “Water based activities are safe and enjoyable with the right equipment and preparation. We are asking people to check that they have the correct equipment, that they have checked the weather and tidal or river information, and that they know what to do in the event of an emergency.

“We have sadly seen instances where people have underestimated the depth, speed, and tidal change of water to detrimental effect.”

Sport NI Chief Executive, Antoinette McKeown, highlighted the importance of understanding the risks when going into open water: “Open water can be a real danger to anyone not familiar with the risks or the necessary preparations which are required. It is great to see so many people reaping the physical and mental health benefits of the outdoors as they increasingly appreciate the natural world around them after the pandemic lockdowns.

“While of course we are delighted to see more and more people getting into watersports, we encourage them to do so responsibly.”

OutmoreNI

As part of OutmoreNI’s ‘Right Side of Outside’ campaign here are five handy tips to help you enjoy the water and stay safe at the same time.

Pay attention to water and safety flags

All beaches will have water safety signs and flags to keep everyone safe. Do a bit of research to see what each sign and/or flag means. For example, if you see a red flag on a beach, this means the sea is unsafe for swimmers. A red and yellow flag will be displayed on a beach where lifeguards are present. You should only swim in the space between two red and yellow flags.

Wear a life jacket

Always wear a life jacket when paddling or swimming in the sea– even if you consider yourself competent in the water. This is non-negotiable. You might not think of it as the most fashionable item, but it could save your life.

Research the weather and water conditions before visiting

Have a look at the weather conditions before heading into the water. Let’s face it; stand up paddle boarding or swimming in the sea in the middle of a storm isn’t the smartest idea. Always enter shallow water feet first and stay close to shore. If you are too cold or tired, get out of the water and rest. Also check local tidal or river level information and find out the best and safest places to access the water.

Never swim alone

Partner up with a friend and go for a dip together to look after each other. If anything happens, you have someone close to you to help straight away. If lifeguards are present, your friend can alert them of any danger and get help as soon as possible. Often looking after busy beaches, a lifeguard may not spot a distressed swimmer right away.

No alcohol

Any outdoor activity while under the influence is not a good idea. Alcohol distorts your perception of danger and impairs your balance. If you are looking to explore the outdoors this summer, save the alcohol for after you get out of the water.

Know your limitations

Be honest with yourself and be safe. Going beyond your knowledge and ability can have disastrous consequences; many accidents happen as a result of trying to do too much before you are ready.

Northern Ireland is surrounded by beautiful beaches and lakes that should be enjoyed safely. Check out OutmoreNI.com for a list of beaches and canoe trails to enjoy. Stay on The Right Side of Outside and get the most out of our beautiful natural surroundings.

 

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