Author: Ethan Loughrey

5 Reasons Why You Should Attend a “Get Wet Stay Safe” Event

Watersports are an exhilarating hobby that can provide you with often unforgettable experiences, but it’s crucial to prioritize safety before – in some cases, literally, diving in. That’s where “Get Wet Stay Safe” comes in. In this blog post, we will explore five compelling reasons why you should attend a “Get Wet Stay Safe” session. From the importance of water safety to the increase in lifeguard emergencies, this initiative offers valuable knowledge and skills to keep you safe while enjoying the watersports you love.

  1. Prioritizing Water Safety: Water safety should be a top priority for anyone engaging in watersports. The “Get Wet Stay Safe” initiative is designed to educate participants about the potential risks involved and equip them with essential safety knowledge. By attending these events, you’ll learn vital techniques such as understanding tides, recognizing hazards, understanding cold water shock and knowing how to respond in emergency situations.
  2. Alarming Increase in Lifeguard Call Outs: Since 2020, the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) and lifeguards have witnessed a concerning rise in emergencies related to water activities. Official figures demonstrate a stark increase – over 300% – in rescue operations in both the sea and our loughs. These incidents highlight the importance of being prepared and knowledgeable about water safety practices, particularly given the significant increase in recent years of local unofficial groups who meet for watersports activities. Attending a “Get Wet Stay Safe” event can help reduce the likelihood of becoming a statistic in these alarming trends.
  3. Expert-Led Instruction: Get Wet Stay Safe collaborates with well regarded local organisations such as SportNI, Swim Ulster, and Swim Ireland to provide expert-led instruction. These professionals possess a wealth of experience in their respective fields and are committed to imparting crucial water safety skills to participants. By learning from these experts, you can feel confident in your ability to handle potential risks and make informed decisions while engaging in watersports.
  4. Accessible and Free: One of the most attractive aspects of the “Get Wet Stay Safe” initiative is its accessibility and affordability. The programme is available in every council area in Northern Ireland from May until September and is completely free of charge. This inclusivity ensures that the largest possible number of people can be reached. By removing financial barriers, the programme also aims to reach a wide audience and create a safer watersports community. As an extra bonus, all participants will also receive a free Nature Valley bar to keep them going during their session!
  5. Bridge to Local Watersports Clubs: In addition to fostering water safety awareness, Get Wet Stay Safe aims to connect participants with local watersports clubs. After completing a session, attendees are encouraged to pursue their passion for watersports by joining these clubs. By facilitating this connection, the initiative not only promotes active and healthy lifestyles but also boosts membership for local watersports organizations. Supporting these clubs is essential for their sustainability and continued contribution to the community.

Attending a “Get Wet Stay Safe” event is a proactive step towards ensuring your safety and well-being while enjoying watersports activities. The initiative’s commitment to water safety education, alarming statistics regarding lifeguard call-outs, expert-led instruction, accessibility, and bridging participants to local watersports clubs make it a valuable and life-saving experience. By equipping yourself with the necessary knowledge and skills, you can confidently navigate the waters and enjoy your adventures with peace of mind. Remember, prevention is key, and your participation in “Get Wet Stay Safe” could ultimately save a life.

‘Get Wet Stay Safe’ continues to keep public safe in open water

The ‘Get Wet Stay Safe’ (GWSS) programme returns for its second year to ensure the safe use of open water spaces.

The GWSS programme is a joint initiative between Sport NI, Canoe Association of Northern Ireland, Swim Ulster, Swim Ireland, Maritime Coastguard Agency, Royal National Lifeboat Institute, Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland, The Outdoor Partnership and local authorities.

GWSS provides a series of training sessions in each council area on the impacts of cold water and basic safety messages for Stand Up Paddleboard and Sit On Top Kayak users as well as open water swimmers.

The second year of the programme was launched at South Lakes Leisure Centre in Craigavon where those in attendance also had the opportunity for to take part in a Get Wet Stay Safe session on the water.

Chief Executive of Sport NI, Antoinette McKeown said: “It has been brilliant to see the increase in people taking part in water sports and taking advantage of the many accessible locations on our doorsteps across Northern Ireland.

“Water sports are a great way to stay active during the summer and being outdoors has many benefits for our mental health and wellbeing but open water also has significant risks.

“We want to ensure that water sport is enjoyed but is done so safely. The Get Wet Stay Safe programme will educate users on the risks of open water and how to look after themselves to avoid situations but also how to help themselves if a problem should arise.

“The first year of this programme saw over 600 people take part in our safety sessions, equipping them with the knowledge and confidence to enjoy their time on the water safely.

“We would encourage anyone thinking of taking part in paddleboarding, kayaking or open water swimming to attend one of our sessions.”

Sessions are being held in all 11 council areas in Northern Ireland every weekend and on Wednesday evenings between May and September.

The programme is also being sponsored by Nature Valley with every attendee on a course receiving a bar.

If you are interested in attending a session, please click the GetWetNI link for a list of locations and dates:

People enjoying adventure activities (whether on water or land) in Northern Ireland are also being urged to #BeAdventureSmart, as partners come together to launch the AdventureSmart Northern Ireland campaign.

New pages on feature detailed information for popular outdoor pursuit sites including the Mournes, the Causeway Coast, the Sperrins, Strangford and the Fermanagh Lakelands.

The campaign encourages people to be AdventureSmart by asking three questions before they set off for their day:

  • Am I confident I have the KNOWLEDGE & SKILLS for the day?
  • Do I know what the WEATHER will be like?
  • Do I have the right GEAR?

The website has all the information needed to be in the know and kitted up to enjoy Northern Ireland safely.

Paul Donovan, co-lead for the AdventureSmart campaign said: “We are pleased to join forces with the Get WET Stay Safe programme in a coordinated approach to outdoor safety in Northern Ireland. This collaboration will offer well-placed opportunities to gently nudge those in search of an adventure to take responsibility for their own safety and make their good day better.

“Over 100 organisations with an interest in outdoor recreation and tourism are partners in the national campaign. We are asking campaign partners to engage in conversations with those who venture outdoors about being adventure smart, to encourage them to make their good day better by taking some simple actions to help them enjoy the hills, water, countryside and coastline safely.

“We all know, the weather changes rapidly here in Northern Ireland so encouraging people to keep a close eye on the current weather conditions and to improve their understanding of how that will affect the environment will enable them to be flexible and prepared. Everyone should set off knowing it’s ok to choose a more suitable location or make plans for another day instead.”

For further information, please contact: Paul Donovan ( or Emma Edwards-Jones, (

To access the information on the adventuresmart website, please visit:

Flow into the next adventure

Future opportunities to get into watersports

This project has been funded by:

with support from the National Governing Bodies (NGBs) of watersports in Northern Ireland

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