The Irish Coast Guard advises seafarers not to use inflatables bought from supermarkets

The Irish Coast Guard is urging people not to go to sea in unsuitable craft, such as inflatables bought from supermarkets.

Last month, the Irish Coast Guard attended more than 25 incidents over a few days which involved leisure activities and any one of them could have resulted in disaster and loss of life.

Incidents varied from inflatables being blown out to sea, to people
being isolated by the tide and also a notable increase in the use of
cheap dinghies with small outboards.

Now, as we’re experiencing ‘a scorcher of a week’, the Coast Guard is renewing its appeal for seafarers to ‘use the right tools for the job’.

Parents and guardians are advised to be vigilant especially where young teenagers are purchasing such equipment.

Sea safety advice

  • Use lifejackets or buoyancy aids at all times

  • Ensure your craft is fit for purpose

  • Do not overload the craft

  • Have a means of alerting the emergency services

  • Avoid using inflatable toys, such as lilos and rubber rings, on open water

The Irish Coast provides free waterproof wristbands for children to assist the emergency services in contacting a parent or guardian should it be required.

Beware toy boats

Earlier this week the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI)
lifeguards urged people to take care when using inflatable toy
boats at the beach after two women were blown into the river mouth at
Littlehampton beach.

The women, one of whom suffered from asthma,
were enjoying a day at the seaside when an offshore wind blew the
inflatable dinghy they were playing in away from the beach and into the
busy River Arun, at about 2.30pm on Monday 21 July.

On finding
themselves in the busy channel, which is popular with jet skiers and
boaters, the two women in their twenties jumped off their inflatable and
tried to swim for shore. However, a combination of a strong current and
offshore wind left them struggling in the water.

Two men in a passing
motor boat stopped and managed to get the swimmers on board. RNLI beach lifeguards also attended and transferred the women back
to shore.

Cona, RNLI lifeguard supervisor said: ‘We’ve been called out a number of times this year to
rescue people who have been swept out to sea in an inflatable dinghy.

‘Our advice is not to use inflatables at the beach, particularly when
there is an offshore wind. If you do use them, don’t go out of
knee-depth water.’

Coastguard assistance

If you are in difficulty or see someone in difficulty and requiring assistance dial 112/999 and ask for the Coast Guard.

Find more advice at

Picture: An adapted 6ft inflatable dinghy, which sparked a rescue in July 2013, after a man attempted to sail from Dorset to Ireland and suffered severe sun burn.