The RNLI and the Coast Guard are appealing to the public to exercise caution when participating in any activity on and near the water during the Christmas and New Year period.
They are also reminding everyone to be mindful of the restrictions in place to deal with the COVID pandemic.
Many traditional Christmas and New Year swims which ordinarily had safety measures in place have been cancelled.
Accordingly, anybody planning such activity should check up to date guidance and ensure that they have made appropriate safety arrangements.
The second half of 2020 saw a significant increase in water-based incidents placing extra demands on Search and Rescue providers including Coast Guard and RNLI volunteer crews.
Mindful of the increased levels of participation in open water swimming both organisations are highlighting the risks of suffering cold water shock, which is a very real danger for anyone entering water which is 15°C or below.
Average sea temperature around Ireland at this time of year are just 6-10°C. This can pose a risk of hypothermia, even for the most experienced of open water swimmers.
They are reminding people to only swim in sheltered areas with which you are familiar and swim parallel to the shore. Stay within your depth - know your limits including how long to stay in the water and ensure that you are visible from the shore.
If you or anyone else does get into trouble in or on the water call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.