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Water Safety Chief Suggests Mandatory Enforcement of Wearing Lifejackets

16th September 2021
Chief Executive of Water Safety Ireland, John Leech
Chief Executive of Water Safety Ireland, John Leech

The Chief Executive of Water Safety Ireland has suggested that it may be time to introduce mandatory enforcement of wearing lifejackets.

"Perhaps it is time now to prioritise water safety in Ireland even more than ever and do as was done with road safety. In particular, the enforcement of wearing a lifejacket and making water safety and swimming skills a mandatory part of our Primary School curriculum and not discretionary as it is at present," says John Leech, CEO of, the statutory agency established to promote water safety in Ireland.

His comments follow analysis of drownings and emergency rescue incidents during the past Summer when there were more people holidaying at home due to pandemic restrictions. More calls for rescue were made on beach lifeguards, to the RNLI, the Coast Guard and Community Rescue Boats.

National Lifeguard Training Centre in TramoreNational Lifeguard Training Centre in Tramore

"There have been 47 fatal drownings so far this year, that is 14 more than for the same time last year, which is concerning, and we fear that we could end up with more drownings than last year when we had the lowest number since 1936," he says.

John Leech, Podcast guest this week, has also warned about the dangers of entanglement in weeds while swimming in freshwater, a situation which he says, has deteriorated because of the advent of invasive weed species to Irish rivers and lakes.

PODCAST here

Published in Tom MacSweeney
Afloat.ie Team

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