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The Irish Coast Guard, Water Safety Ireland and RNLI have issued joint advice to help keep people safe at Ireland’s waterways over this June Bank Holiday weekend.

Water-based activities increase at this time of year, as do the number of incidents in which people get into difficulty.

But everyone can minimise the risks with the following advice for a safe enjoyable bank holiday weekend:

  • Check the forecast for your local area, including tide times and sea conditions for coastal activities.
  • Always carry a means of calling for help and keep it within reach.
  • Water temperatures are still cold. Acclimatise by getting in slowly, swim within your depth and avoid staying in the water for extended periods. Swimmers should be aware of rip currents and if caught in one should swim parallel to shore and then back to land.
  • Swim with others — never alone — in recognised, traditionally safe bathing areas. Lifeguarded waterways are listed at watersafety.ie.
  • Supervise children at all times near water and never use inflatable toys in open water as currents and breezes can cause persons to be swept out to sea, endangering those onboard or others trying to assist.
  • If you find yourself struggling in the water unexpectedly remember Float to Live. The best way to float is to tilt your head back with your ears submerged. Try to relax and breathe normally. You can gently move your hands to help you stay afloat if you need to. Spread your arms and legs out to improve stability. Once your breathing is under control, call for help or swim to safety.
  • Stranding is a risk when low tides expose areas of the coastline for walkers to explore sandbanks. Watch out for incoming tides, local signage, and always carry a fully charged mobile phone.
  • Wear a personal flotation device when paddle boarding, kayaking or boating, or when angling from shore.
  • Avoid alcohol as it impairs judgement, balance and coordination — all essential for swimming and boating and avoiding hazards in the water.

If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast or if you suspect that they are in trouble, dial 112 or use Marine VHF Channel 16 and ask for the coastguard.

Published in Water Safety

Ahead of the May holiday weekend, Water Safety Ireland, the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI are jointly appealing to people to be safe and summer-ready when planning an activity on or near the water.

The organisations are urging people to ensure that boats and other watercraft, including kayaks and canoes, are checked and in good working order following the winter period. Engines should be serviced and all equipment, particularly lifejackets, should be in good condition.

If out on a boat, or other water vessel:

  • Wear a lifejacket, carry a reliable means of communication – a VHF radio and ideally a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) with mobile phone backup in a watertight case
  • Ensure that you tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back

If planning activities on the water:

  • Always bring a means of effectively communicating distress
  • Use readily available sources of information to check the environmental conditions (weather and tides) in advance of your trip
  • Seek help immediately if you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast, or think they are in trouble, by using Marine VHF channel 16 or Dialling 112 and asking for the Coast Guard

If you are swimming:

  • Water temperatures are still cold at this time of the year, consider wearing a wetsuit to stay warm
  • Acclimatise slowly
  • Wear a bright swimming cap and consider a tow float to increase your visibility
  • Never swim alone and always ensure that your activity is being monitored by a colleague

Kevin Whitney, Operations Manager at the Coast Guard reminded everyone to ‘Plan & Prepare’ before considering any water-based or coastal activity ahead of and during the summer months: ‘Do not use inflatable toys in open water or swim out after anything drifting as things can quickly go wrong. Be aware of potential dangers and well prepared before engaging in any water-based activities. The Be Summer-Ready website at www.gov.ie/summerready provides good water safety advice and we urge the public to read this before venturing out on the water.’

Roger Sweeney, Deputy CEO at Water Safety Ireland said: ‘An average of five people drown in Ireland every fortnight and cold water is often a factor. Sudden immersion can cause a shock to your body, a loss of breathing control, dizziness, and panic. Hypothermia and muscle cooling soon makes swimming difficult or impossible, particularly for children who have less body fat. Keep cold water swims short and enter the water slowly, staying within your depth. Shore anglers should always wear a lifejacket and walkers should carry a mobile phone and keep a close eye on incoming tides to avoid being stranded.’

Linda-Gene Byrne, RNLI Water Safety Lead said: ‘Many people will be taking vessels to the water for the first time this year so this is a good time to think about checking your equipment, especially your lifejacket so that it is fit for purpose.’

‘Others may be planning a trip to the beach and a swim in the sea. We would encourage swimmers to be mindful of rip currents which can be difficult to spot, but are sometimes identified by a channel of churning, choppy water on the sea's surface. Even the most experienced beachgoers can be caught out by rips so remember don’t try to swim against it or you’ll get exhausted. If you can stand, wade don’t swim. If you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore. Always raise your hand and shout for help.’

If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast, or think they are in trouble, use Marine VHF channel 16 or Dial 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

Published in Coastguard

As the Easter weekend approaches, the Coast Guard, RNLI, and Water Safety Ireland are urging the public to take precautions to stay safe during water activities. With longer and brighter evenings, more people are expected to visit the coast or engage in water-based activities. Knowing basic water safety advice could help prevent accidents or tragedies.

Mixed weather conditions are expected over the weekend, with sunny periods followed by rain and showers. Water temperatures are relatively cold at this time of year, and inexperienced or occasional open water swimmers should take care to acclimatise slowly and manage their time in the water carefully. It is crucial to always be alert to the risk of cold water shock.

The organisations are encouraging people to follow some basic precautions to reduce the risk of accidents when visiting the coast or engaging in water activities. Some of these precautions include wearing a lifejacket, checking weather forecasts, staying away from the edge, and avoiding alcohol before or during water activities.

If sailing or motorboating:

  • Always wear an appropriate lifejacket
  • Always carry a means of calling and signalling for help
  • When engaging on any type of boating activity; Ensure there is an emergency action plan in place, and everybody has an onboard briefing
  • Get the right level of training for your craft
  • Always check the weather and tide times
  • Make sure someone on the shore knows where you are going and who to call if you don’t return on time.
  • Always operate your boat at a speed that is appropriate to the weather conditions and to the environment you are operating in.

Attention is also drawn to the Code of Practice for the Safe Operation of Recreational Craft a valuable source of information, advice and best practice operational guidance for owners, masters, operators and users of a range of pleasure and recreational craft operating in Irish coastal and inland waters. It can be viewed at www.safetyonthewater.gov.ie

Gerard O’Flynn, Coast Guard Operations Manager said: ‘After a protracted period of broken weather and with the advent of longer evening daylight from Sunday, many people are looking forward to getting out and about along the coast or on the water. Always check the weather forecast, ensure that you have a means of communication, plan your activity and ensure that a colleague is aware of your plans and expected return time. Please also be alert to the risk of becoming isolated by incoming tides on beaches or coastal area particularly if setting out during lower tides.’

Roger Sweeney, Water Safety Ireland’s Deputy CEO said: ‘Over the course of five Easter holiday periods, 12 people drowned accidentally, mainly while swimming, angling, or after falling in while walking. To stay safe, keep cold water swims brief and shallow, wear a lifejacket when angling on the shoreline or riverbanks, and stay away from the water's edge when out walking. With nearly one million children on school holidays, and many visiting friends and family living on farms and near lakes, rivers, canals, and beaches, constant adult supervision is essential for their safety.’

Linda-Gene Byrne, RNLI Water Safety Lead added: ‘We are approaching the time of year when we will see boats back on the water and many are now looking forward to a season of sailing. While we want everyone to enjoy themselves, we want them to do so safely. Mechanical failure is the single biggest cause of rescue call outs to sailing and motor cruisers, accounting for nearly 20% of all our lifeboat launches. Knowing your boat, carrying spares and being able to fit them could make the difference between having to call for help and being able to help yourself.’

If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast or think that they are in trouble, use marine VHF radio Ch 16 or dial 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

Published in Coastguard

Ahead of the St Patrick’s Day Bank Holiday weekend, the Irish Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland are issuing a joint water safety appeal, asking people to stay safe when in, near or on the water.

Water temperatures are still cold, meaning cold-water shock and hypothermia are risks that can affect everyone. The three organisations are advising anyone intending to take part in any water-based activity or coastal walks to carefully plan their activity so as to ensure they stay safe.

Coastal walkers are reminded to be alert to the risk posed on cliff and costal walkways by the exceptional wet weather coupled with any erosion over the winter months.

If heading out on the water or participating in costal activity:

  • Never mix alcohol or drugs with water activities.
  • Always check the weather and tides before venturing out.
  • Carry a reliable means of raising the alarm: VHF radio, personal locator beacon (PLB) or fully charged mobile phone.
  • Tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back.
  • Wear a suitable personal flotation device when engaged in any water-based activity, including shoreline fishing.
  • Always check the weather forecast and time of tides.
  • Be alert to the risk of becoming isolated by incoming tides.

Gerard O’Flynn, Irish Coast Guard operations manager said: “Always plan your activity and ensure you have a reliable and suitable means of communication. Regardless of activity ensure that somebody knows your plans and expected return time.”

Roger Sweeney, Water Safety Ireland’s deputy chief executive added: “Throughout the festivities, please ensure that you provide your children with constant, uninterrupted supervision when playing near water. Supervise them closely and teach them about water safety at www.teachpaws.ie.

“If you see somebody in trouble in the water: SHOUT – REACH – THROW. SHOUT to calm, encourage and orientate them; REACH with anything that prevents you from entering the water (clothing/stick); and THROW a ring buoy or any floating object to them.”

Linda-Gene Byrne, RNLI water safety lead said: “We are all looking forward to enjoying the longer evenings but it is important to remember when walking to keep well away from the water’s edge. You can reduce the risks by avoiding walking alone or at night and by always making sure you have a means of calling for help.

“If over the upcoming festivities, you or someone you are with has a drink, stay away from the water. Alcohol can lower inhibitions, leading to impaired judgement which means you are more likely to take risks and get into trouble. It also limits muscle ability, making simple movements much harder, slows down reactions making it more difficult to get yourself out of trouble, and if swimming, it numbs the senses making swimming difficult.

“If you do find yourself struggling in the water unexpectedly, Float to Live. To do this, tilt your head back with your ears submerged. Try to relax and breathe normally. You can gently move your hands to help you stay afloat if you need to. Spread your arms and legs out to improve stability – and it's OK if your legs sink, we all float differently. Once your breathing is under control, call for help or swim to safety.”

If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast, or think they are in trouble, dial 112 or use VHF Channel 16 and ask for the coastguard.

Published in Water Safety

Ahead of the first long weekend of 2024, celebrating St Brigid, the Irish Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland have issued a joint water safety appeal asking people to stay safe when in, near or on the water.

The organisations are also reminding the public that water and air temperatures are relatively cold this time of the year and that hypothermia can set in quickly when sea swimming or coastal walking.

Water temperatures are still cold, meaning cold water shock and hypothermia are risks that can affect everyone. To avoid this during swims, people should acclimatise to the water slowly to get used to the cold and warm up quickly upon exiting the water.

The coastguard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland advise everyone intending to take part in any water-based activity or coastal walks to make sure they check in advance what they should do to keep safe.

If heading out on the water or visiting the coast:

  • Never mix alcohol with water activities.
  • Always check the weather and tides.
  • Carry a reliable means of raising the alarm: a VHF radio, personal locator beacon (PLB) or a fully charged mobile phone.
  • Tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back.
  • Wear a suitable personal flotation device when boating or angling.
  • Watch out for incoming tides to avoid getting cut off.

If you are swimming:

  • Water temperatures are still cold at this time of the year, so consider wearing a wetsuit to stay warm.
  • Acclimatise slowly, wear a bright swimming cap and consider a tow float to increase your visibility.
  • Never swim alone and always ensure that your activity is being monitored by a colleague.

Gerard O’Flynn, head of operations with the Irish Coast Guard says: “It is important to plan activities carefully this time of the year given that the weather conditions can be cold and changeable, for guidance on water safety planning, people should consult the Safety on the Water website at Gov.ie.”

Roger Sweeney, Water Safety Ireland’s deputy chief executive says: “Winter storms have damaged many waterside walking routes that were considered familiar and safe but may now be hazardous. Erosion underfoot is not always obvious until it is too late.

“Tell children in your care that to stay SAFE is to Stay Away From Edges. Use walkways that have public rescue equipment such as ringbuoys in bright yellow boxes. Report missing or vandalised ringbuoys at ringbuoys.ie, as a stolen ringbuoy could mean a stolen life.”

Linda-Gene Byrne, RNLI regional water safety lead added: “If you find yourself struggling in the water unexpectedly, your instinct will tell you to swim hard. But cold-water shock can make you gasp uncontrollably. Then you can breathe in water and drown. Instead, you should Float to Live.

“The best way to float is to tilt your head back with your ears submerged. Try to relax and breathe normally. You can gently move your hands to help you stay afloat if you need to. Spread your arms and legs out to improve stability — and it's OK if your legs sink, we all float differently. Once your breathing is under control, call for help or swim to safety.”

If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast, or think they are in trouble, dial 112 or use VHF Channel 16 and ask for the coastguard.

Published in Water Safety

The Coast Guard, Water Safety Ireland and the RNLI have issued a joint appeal for the festive season, urging people to be mindful of the potential risks with their chosen activity and attend to their personal safety in planning and participating in any water based or coastal activities.

The increase in popularity of festive dips and open water swimming will see a lot of people taking to the water over the next few weeks. Many people will also avail of the opportunity to participate in coastal walks and hikes. The three maritime organisations are asking people to check that they have the right information to safely enjoy these activities and that they know what to do in the event of an emergency.

For those taking part in winter dips and swims the advice is:

  • Never swim alone.
  • Ensure that somebody ashore is monitoring your activity.
  • Acclimatise slowly.
  • Stay within your depth.
  • Always be seen.
  • Organisers of Christmas day or New year swims are advised to have suitably trained personnel in attendance and to appoint a Safety Officer.

Water-based activities at this or any time of year are not limited to swimming as the popularity of kayaking, canoeing, boating, and paddle-boarding remains high. The safety advice for these activities includes:

  • Always have a means for calling for help and make sure you can access it when you are out on the water.
  • Tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to return.
  • Wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid.
  • Always check the weather forecast and sea conditions before you set off.
  • If you're exploring somewhere new, seek knowledge from experienced practitioners in the area.

Water Safety Ireland’s Deputy CEO Roger Sweeney said “A full moon during Christmas week (Dec 27th) will heighten the risks for walkers and swimmers as the resulting higher high tides will make our coastline more precarious. Stay away from the water’s edge on family walks and swimmers should watch out for stronger rip currents. Stranding will also be a risk for many walkers as the lower low tides caused by the full moon will expose even greater areas of the coastline. Children are often tempted to explore these sandbanks but risk being surrounded by an incoming tide. Parents and guardians should provide constant undistracted adult supervision of their children at all times.”

RNLI Water Safety Lead Linda Gene Byrne added “This time of year sees a huge increase in people doing seasonal swims and dips, particularly for charity. We would urge people when they decide to take to the water, to make time to ensure they are doing it safely and with the correct knowledge and equipment. That time taken could save a life or another person’s life. If you need to call for help, everything that you have done to keep afloat could make all the difference.”

Coast Guard Operations manager Gerard O’Flynn commented “Please plan your activity, whether it be on the water or along the coast and only swim or walk in areas with which you are familiar. Be mindful that less busy walkways may have suffered erosion since the summertime. Always carry a means of communication, such as VHF radio or a personal locator beacon especially if going afloat. PLBs attached to a lifejacket are proven to be lifesavers”.

The Coast Guard, Water Safety Ireland and RNLI would also like to thank all the volunteers and staff of the search and rescue organisations, who keep people safe on the water all year round and whose actions have saved many lives and wish them and their families a SAFE, happy Christmas and a peaceful new year.

If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast, or think they are in trouble, dial 112 or 999 and ask for the Coast Guard

Published in Coastguard

The Irish Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland have issued a joint water safety appeal as people are expected to enjoy the water this June Bank Holiday weekend.

Even in good weather, water temperatures remain cold, and the organisations have advised that those taking part in any water-based activity should make sure they have the proper equipment and know how to do it safely.

They advise to always carry a means of calling for help and to keep it within reach at all times. When kayaking or paddleboarding close to shore, conditions can turn quickly and wearing a buoyancy aid or lifejacket can make the critical difference. If you unexpectedly find yourself in the water and are wearing a lifejacket, you have given yourself vital time to be brought to safety.

While the good weather is set to continue, always check the forecast, tide times and sea conditions before setting off. Get regular updates if planning to be out for any length of time. And be prepared to change your plans or cancel the trip if the forecast is unfavourable.

For those swimming, remember to acclimatise slowly, wear a bright swim cap and consider a tow float to increase visibility. Never swim alone and always ensure that your activity is being monitored by a colleague. Swim in areas that are lifeguarded or are known locally to be safe.

Micheál O’Toole, Irish Coast Guard operations manager said: “We appeal to everybody to plan for and attend to their personal safety. We again are warning on the dangers of using inflatable toys such as lilos on or near the water, be it seaside, lake, or river. Please do not bring such items with you.

“We express our thanks to all members of the emergency services who will be on duty over the weekend, in particular volunteer members of the coastguard, RNLI, community inshore rescue boats and mountain rescue teams. Have a safe and enjoyable weekend.”

RNLI water safety lead Linda-Gene Byrne added: “The fine weather and brighter evenings will encourage more people onto the water and it’s great to see people out and about and enjoying it.

“If you fall into the water unexpectedly, remember to Float to Live — tilt your head back with ears submerged and try to relax and control your breathing. Use your hands to help you stay afloat. It’s okay if your legs sink, we all float differently. Keep floating until you feel your breath coming back before calling for help or swimming ashore if nearby.

“Taking a few minutes to check you have taken all the necessary equipment and advice for your activity and knowing what to do in an emergency will give peace of mind and help prevent accidents.”

Roger Sweeney, Water Safety Ireland’s deputy chief executive said: “This weekend, please remember that although air temperatures have risen, our waterways are still too cold for extended swims. A full moon on Saturday will make the coastline more precarious and rip currents will be stronger. Swim within your depth at the lifeguarded waterways listed at www.watersafety.ie/lifeguards/.

“A full moon also creates lower low tides that will expose even greater areas of the coastline which often tempts walkers to explore sandbanks. Be aware of being trapped by incoming tides, carry a fully charged mobile phone, and please provide constant uninterrupted adult supervision for any children in your care.”

If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast, or you think that they are in trouble, dial 112 or use marine VHF radio Channel 16 and ask for the coastguard.

The Irish Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland have also expressed their condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in recent jet ski incidents on Carlingford Lough last week and most recently on Lough Derg in Co Clare.

Published in Water Safety

As the May Bank Holiday approaches, the Irish Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland are issuing a joint water safety appeal asking people to take precautions to ensure their safety whether in, near or on the water, both at the coast and inland.

As the weather improves, more people will participate in coastal and water-based activities. The three organisations say that while these activities are enjoyable, they should be properly planned.

With alcohol being a contributory factor in around one third of drownings in Ireland, they are also appealing to the public to stay away from waterways if alcohol has been consumed.

It is important to be summer ready and ensure that boats and other water vessels, including kayaks and canoes, are checked after the winter to ensure that everything is in good working order and that engines have been serviced, with all equipment — particularly lifejackets — in good condition.

If out on a boat, or other water vessel, wear a lifejacket and carry a reliable means of communication: a VHF radio and ideally a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) with a mobile phone as back-up. Ensure that you tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back.

Micheál O’Toole from the Irish Coast Guard is reminding everyone of the need to check the weather and tides before heading out on the water or visiting the coast.

“We would advise people that the water is still cold at this time of the year, and cold-water shock can affect everyone,” he said. “We recommend exercising caution if entering the water for the first time this year, to wear brightly coloured swimming caps and use tow floats to improve visibility.

“Never ever swim alone and always make sure that your activity is being monitored by a colleague. Things can go very badly wrong in a very short time, so we all need to be aware of potential dangers and be well prepared before engaging in water-based activities. ‘

“The Be Summer Ready website at www.gov.ie/summerready provides good advice about water safety and we would urge all those involved in water activities to take some time to read the material available on the site before venturing out on the water.”

Roger Sweeney, Water Safety Ireland’s deputy CEO said: “Swimmers should be aware of rip currents which are a leading hazard at our beaches. They are often difficult to spot and can quickly weaken even the strongest swimmers and take them away from shore.

“Never swim against a rip current. Instead, swim parallel to shore until you escape the narrow current and then swim back to shore at an angle. Learn more at www.watersafety.ie/rip-currents.”

Killian O’Kelly, RNLI water safety education manager added: “If you’re going out on the water using a stand-up paddleboard, sit on top kayak, or personal watercraft, it is important to consider the direction of the wind. Offshore winds, ie winds blowing out to sea, are not suitable for these activities as they can push you further out to sea.

“Plan your route considering sheltered locations, wear a personal flotation device and have a suitable means of contact on your person that is easily accessible in any emergency.

“If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast, or think they are in trouble, dial 112 or use VHF Channel 16 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in Water Safety

Ahead of St Patrick’s Day festivities around Ireland, the Irish Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland have issued a joint water safety appeal, asking people to stay safe when in, near or on the water.

The organisations are also urging the public to stay away from waterways if consuming alcohol. There are an average of nine drownings in Ireland every month and alcohol is a contributory factor in one third.

A lifejacket that has a correctly fitting crotch strap should always be worn on water and when angling from shore. If engaging in any boating activity it is essential to have a means of communication such as VHF radio or personal locator beacon with a mobile phone as a backup.

Water temperatures are still cold, meaning cold water shock and hypothermia are risks that can affect everyone. To avoid this while swimming, people should acclimatise to the water slowly to get used to the cold and warm up quickly upon exiting the water.

The Irish Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland advise everyone intending to take part in any water-based activity or coastal walks to make sure they check in advance what they should do to keep safe.

If heading out on the water or visiting the coast:

  • Never mix alcohol with water activities
  • Always check the weather and tides
  • Carry a reliable means of raising the alarm (VHF radio or personal locator beacon, with a fully charged mobile phone as backup)
  • Tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back
  • Wear a suitable personal flotation device when boating or angling
  • Watch out for incoming tides to avoid getting cut off

If you are swimming:

  • Water temperatures are still cold at this time of the year; consider wearing a wetsuit to stay warm
  • Acclimatise slowly
  • Wear a bright swimming cap and consider a tow float to increase your visibility
  • Never swim alone and always ensure that your activity is being monitored by a colleague

Irish Coast Guard operations manager Micheal O’Toole says: “St Patrick’s weekend is a traditional start to the holiday season and with extended daylight people will be keen to get out and about. Always carry a means of communication. If engaging in coastal walks, only use routes with which you are familiar or routes that are well marked and in regular use. Be attentive to erosion or changes that may have occurred over the winter period.“”

RNLI head of region Anna Classon adds: “As the evenings get longer, the water temperature is at its coldest at this time of year. Cold water shock is still a risk and we ask people to take care when entering and exiting the water. Acclimatise slowly and never swim alone.”

Water Safety Ireland’s deputy chief executive Roger Sweeney cautions that people should stay away from water if consuming alcohol.

“At this time of year many people will enjoy family trips to waterways nationwide. However, it is important people remember to supervise children closely and not to drink alcohol when supervising children near water,” he says. “Alcohol is a contributory factor in over 30% of drowning incidents and an individual’s judgement and reaction times can be significantly impaired.”

If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast, or think they are in trouble, dial 999 or 112 or use VHF Channel 16 and ask for the coastguard.

Published in Water Safety

Fifteen lives were saved from drowning by rescuers who received recognition at Water Safety Ireland’s National Annual Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, 6th December, at 7 pm.

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, acknowledged recipients of the ‘Seiko Just in Time Rescue Award’ and other awards in appreciation for saving fifteen lives.

“Tonight, four women and 14 men are being recognised for doing something absolutely remarkable – that’s saving a life,” Minister Humphreys said.

“You’re being recognised for your determination. For your strength. For looking out for others. And for your extraordinary displays of courage.

“I am deeply honoured to pay tribute to these deserving award recipients”, she added.

Among the other recipients to receive awards are 30 volunteers who will be presented with Long-Service Volunteer Awards, recognising a combined total of 545 years of personal service teaching swimming, water rescue and survival skills in communities nationwide.

Minister Humphreys continued: “Also tonight, I want to say to the people who coach and train people in swimming and lifesaving all over the country: you too are saving lives by enabling others to do so.

“Without the coaches, the trainers and the teachers, we would not have the large volume of lifesavers around our country that we can be so proud of.”

Water Safety Ireland CEO Joanne Walsh stated: “I would ask that we all remain aware of the dangers of drowning”.

“Drownings can happen quickly and silently but with the right knowledge, skills and attitudes everyone can avoid the hazards and take responsibility for their own safety. Start a water safety conversation with your family, friends and colleagues and encourage them to read Water Safety Ireland’s guidelines at www.watersafety.ie so they can enjoy Ireland’s waterways safely.”

The Rescue Appreciation Award and Seiko Just in Time Award, presented to those who helped save someone at risk of drowning.


1. Garda Sarah Lynam – Dublin

Last August, Garda Sarah Lynam, a former competitive swimmer, became alerted to the fact that a person was in distress in the water at Bachelor’s Quay. She ran from the GPO on O’Connell Street, removed her stab vest and utility belt and swam to the casualty. Once out of the water, she noticed he was not responsive, so she began CPR and he made a full recovery.

2. Francis Doherty and Maureen Devenney – Donegal 

Last May, Maureen Devenney and her sister got pulled out to sea by a strong current. Maureen encouraged her sister to kick her legs and turn over onto her back while Maureen swam to the shore where she got help from Francis who swam out with a ringbuoy and started for shore. Meanwhile, Maureen had organised a chain of six people to wade out chest deep and bring both to safety.

3. John Timlin – Kerry

Last August 2022, John had just finished a surf lesson at Fermoyle strand, Castlegregory, in Kerry. Suddenly he saw swimmers in difficulty, caught in a rip current. He quickly grabbed a surfboard and paddled out. It took some time to get through the high waves. Eventually, he spotted a motionless girl, weak and semi-conscious, pulled her up onto the board and began a challenging paddle to shore through dangerous conditions. He placed her into the recovery position and after coughing up a lot of water, was kept warm with blankets from his van until emergency services arrived. Thankfully, she made a full recovery.

4. Sarah Cooke – Offaly

Last July, Sarah was teaching a water safety class at Banagher pool in Offaly. A young man at the other end of the pool got into difficulty so she grabbed a ringbuoy, instructed her class to vacate the pool and brought him to safety.

5. Sergeant Brendan Byrne and Garda Ronan Allen – Dublin

In August 2019, Gardai Brendan Byrne and Ronan Allen responded to a 999 call that a man was in the river Liffey. When they arrived, two men were in difficulty. Garda Allen entered the water and reached them with a ringbuoy. Sergeant Byrne pulled the rope towards a ladder where Dublin Fire Brigade soon arrived at the scene and helped to take all three people out of the water to safety.

6. David Caulfield, Dylan Putthaaree and Glen Wightman – Wexford 

In August 2021, David Caulfield was driving along the quays by the river Barrow in New Ross, Co Wexford. He saw a man in the water and immediately jumped in and pulled him towards the riverbank where a passing boat spotted them and pulled them both to safety.

7. Paul Sweeney and Garda Mark O'Sullivan - Donegal 

In December 2021, Paul Sweeney saw a young man was in difficulty at Rathmullen pier, Donegal. He entered the water and managed to reach the young man. Garda Mark O Sullivan arrived, grabbed a ringbuoy and entered the water. Both men kept the casualty afloat until emergency services arrived. The hypothermic young man was brought to hospital where he made a full recovery.

8. Jonathan Monroe – Galway

Last July, Jonathan was on his way to work when he saw a person in distress in the Eglinton canal in Galway city. Gary entered the water, reached the man and pulled him to safety. He stayed with the casualty until emergency services arrived. The casualty made a full recovery.

9. Mikey O'Siochrú – Dublin

Last August, Mikey had just come off duty as a lifeguard in Sandycove, when he was alerted to a woman in distress in the water. A seal was attacking the woman. He entered the water with a flotation device and upon reaching her, saw that she was injured. Mikey calmed the situation and brought her safely to shore where she received medical assistance for her wounds and made a full recovery.

10. Saoirse Maloney – Waterford 

Last July Saoirse was alerted that a woman was at risk of drowning in a cove in Ardmore. Saoirse swam to her rescue and brought her to safety. The woman was very disorientated but Saoirse continued to reassure her.

11. Patrick Gordon – Clare

Last July, Patrick was out surfing in strong winds with a friend when they heard a swimmer shouting for help after getting pulled from shore by a rip current. He immediately paddled towards the swimmer and told his friend to make for shore to get help. Patrick took his friend’s board, reached the exhausted swimmer, and got him to hold onto the board until he regained his breath and was able to make it safely back to shore.

12. Josh Marley – Donegal 

In August 2021, Josh became alerted to a person in distress in the water at Lifford bridge, Donegal. He immediately entered the river and managed to reach the woman and bring her to the safety of the riverbank where the emergency services took over.

13. Miley Doran – Carlow

In May 2021, Miley discovered two people, a mother and daughter, in difficulty in the River Barrow. Miley immediately jumped into the water and managed to bring the young girl to safety, before entering the water once more to rescue her mother. An incredible act of courage.

Long Service Awards

Long Service Awards are presented in recognition of a voluntary commitment to promoting a public awareness of water safety and rescue. Water Safety Ireland extends a sincere debt of gratitude to the following WSI volunteers.

10 Years of Service

Gerry Bruton, Offaly
James Murray, Offaly
Pamela McGrath, Clare
Yvonne Byrne, Kildare
Catherine Poole, Kildare
Billy Cantillon, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick
Stephen Ryan, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick

15 Years of Service

Brendan Devlin, Louth
Bryan Corcoran, Kildare
Susan Corcoran, Kildare
Brenda Maye, Kildare
Patrick Maye, Kildare
Sam Murray, Kildare
Ian Cunningham, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick
Joe Morgan, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick
Tom Cusack, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick
Tony Slattery, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick
Valerie Stundon. Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick

20 Years of Service

Ciara O Sullivan, Limerick
Jonathan Broderick, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick
Kieran Goodisson, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick
Peter Hogan, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick
David Finn, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick
Diarmuid Moriarty, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick
Ken Moore, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick

30 Years of Service

May Coyle, Louth
Mal Sherlock, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick
Trevor Sheehan, Community Rescue Boats Ireland in Limerick

40 Years of Service

Aisling Cushen, Dublin
Jimmy Reilly, Dublin

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago