Ahead of the May Bank Holiday weekend, the Port of Cork and Cork Water Safety are issuing a safety message to all marine leisure users in Cork Harbour, as well as swimmers and jet ski users.
As the weather warms up and sports like rowing and sailing recommence the Port of Cork and Cork Water Safety want to remind users to be always safety conscious. A particular emphasis is on personal watercraft safety, in this case jet skis. Users are reminded to adhere to the 6 knots speed limit when within 60 m of a pier, jetty, slipway, mooring, shore or another vessel and 120 m of a swimmer or dive flag.
Freestyling is not permitted within 200m of swimmers, or the shoreline and users should always maintain a proper lookout for boats and keep clear of all other craft. Wearing a life jacket is essential and the engine kill switch must be used.
According to the Port of Cork Harbour Master, Captain Paul O’Regan, now is the time to consider all safety options before heading out on the water and to respect other users, wildlife & the environment.
He said: ‘It’s absolutely wonderful to see leisure users on the water around Cork Harbour, enjoying this fantastic amenity, but we want to ensure all activities are carried out safely. We see more and more people going to the piers and slipways in Cork Harbour to swim; we strongly advise people not to do this as tidal flows and currents at these areas can be very strong. Marine craft often use these piers and slipways and may not always see swimmers in the water, please instead swim at designated swimming areas.’
He continued: ‘We are also advising personal watercraft safety especially in the case of jet skis and new awareness signage has been erected at different locations around Cork Harbour to remind people of the safety procedures they should take.’
Cork Water Safety added: ‘With one of the busiest summers at our doorstep, it is vitally important to be mindful of water safety in the coming months. It is fantastic to see so many open water swimmers jumping and getting active during the pandemic. Let’s try to keep ourselves safe as more of us flock to the water this summer!’
‘Tell someone you’re going for a swim and when you’ll be back. Wear a toefloat. Keep warm with an insulated rash vest and two hats. If possible, never swim alone. Only swim at designated swimming areas, especially in a busy harbour like the Port of Cork! Whether you are an experienced swimmer or new to the sport the advice stays the same. If you are new to the area, research and ask locally about the possible dangers e.g., currents, marine traffic, and leisure craft. Remember – Better Safe, Than Sorry.’
The Irish Coastguard recently launched their ‘BE ALERT TO WATER SAFETY’ campaign and reminded people if you see anybody in difficulty on the shore or in the water, dial 112/999 and ask for the Coast Guard.