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Sailing Will Help Deal With the 'Inflatables' Problem

10th September 2020
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John Leech - Sailing has shown how the use of lifejackets and buoyancy aids can be easily and assimilated into enjoying watersports John Leech - Sailing has shown how the use of lifejackets and buoyancy aids can be easily and assimilated into enjoying watersports

Five local Councils, in cities and counties around the country, are now considering banning what has been termed as the "killer inflatable toys" from local beaches.

This follows the call by the Chief Executive of Water Safety Ireland on Afloat.ie last week for such a ban

John Leech said that, after almost a dozen rescues by the RNLI, Coast Guard, fishermen and members of the public during this Summer, action to protect life had to be taken against "these very dangerous toys." There was a huge response to his Podcast.

This week he told me that sailing was going to help in a campaign to increase safety, particularly for Paddle Board. Amongst the support he has received has been from UK Sailmakers Ireland, formerly known as McWilliam Sailmakers, at Crosshaven in Co. Cork, with an initiative to install warning windsocks on beaches, which Mr Leech outlines in his week's Podcast.

"Sailing has shown how the use of lifejackets and buoyancy aids can be easily and assimilated into enjoying watersports"

A sailor himself and an international racing judge, the CEO of the national water safety organisation says safety level in watersports is at a high level and sailing has shown how the use of lifejackets and buoyancy aids can be easily and assimilated into enjoying watersports.

What is of most concern, he says in this week's Podcast is those to who are inconsiderate of others, such as the demands they make on the rescue services and irresponsible in using the "dangerous inflatables" which have also been the source of criticism from the RNLI and warnings from the Coast Guard.

"They are not suitable in Irish waters," he said. To get this message home, a new educational programme is to be introduced through the schools, as well as the initiative from UK Sailmakers.

The current period of lifeguards patrolling beaches ends on September 15.

"We do not want more dangerous incidents before then," says the Water Safety Ireland CEO. "The response through Afloat has been very impressive and shows strong public support for what we are trying to achieve – safety on the water and the safe enjoyment of being on the water."

Listen to the Podcast here

Published in Tom MacSweeney
Tom MacSweeney

About The Author

Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for Afloat.ie. He also presents the maritime radio programme This Island Nation on community radio stations around Ireland.

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