ORNI Supports New Initiative to help people ‘Get Wet…Stay Safe’1st June 2022
A new campaign called “Get Wet…Stay Safe” has been launched ahead of the expected influx of people taking to watersports this summer.
The campaign is part of a joint initiative with Sport Northern Ireland, Swim Ireland, Swim Ulster, RNLI, Irish Surfing and the Outdoor Partnership, with promotional support from Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland (ORNI).
The campaign aims to provide necessary safety advice for the 3 main watersports which have seen the largest uptake since the pandemic – stand up paddleboarding, sit-on-top kayaking and open water swimming, through delivering a range of safety sessions from June to September.
Sessions are being run across all 11 council areas in Northern Ireland and are completely free to attend for anyone who is interested in how to participate in the above watersports safely.
The campaign comes following the tragic incident in Wales in October 2021 in which 4 people were killed whilst paddle boarding when the weather changed suddenly.
CEO of SportNI, 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. While of course we are delighted to see more and more people getting into water sports, we encourage them to do so responsibly, and the Get Wet…Stay Safe campaign is a fantastic initiative to highlight this.”
Since the pandemic there has been a huge rise in the numbers of people both taking to water sports, and as a correlation of that, a rise in the number of people needing rescued. Lisa Hollingum from RNLI said, “There is increasing pressure on our staff and that of life guards, who are already facing resource difficulties. Watersports are an amazing hobby but people should beware assuming that buying a board from a local retailer and watching one or two YouTube videos doesn’t make you an expert.”
For more details on any of the ‘Get Wet…Stay Safe’ sessions please visit GetWetNI.com