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Displaying items by tag: water safety

#WaterSafety - The crew of Bundoran RNLI's lifeboat, together with local fishermen and members of Irish Water Safety, recently welcomed a group of students from Lucan, Co Dublin who created a new school’s guide to water safety in Ireland’s rivers, lakes and seas.

The group of students from St Joseph’s College in Lucan are participating in the 2014 Young Social Innovators programme and were tasked with picking an issue of concern in their local area and to take action to change it for the better.

They decided to tackle the ongoing problem of drowning, particularly after the tragic summer last year when so many young people lost their lives needlessly during the hot spell.

Their vision for the information pack is to “think before you splash” – encouraging young people to become more involved in water activities and to increase their awareness of the water.

The pack consists of a lesson plan for teachers as well as a local ecology & water safety survey, 10 water safety rules and more.

Speaking during the visit, Bundoran RNLI crewmember Killian O’Kelly said: "It’s heartening for us who volunteer to save lives at sea to see this initiative being undertaken so enthusiastically by this group of students – they are to be commended for such an excellent piece of work and if it helps to save one life this summer then it’s time well spent."

The group hope to make the booklet available online in the coming weeks.

Published in Water Safety

#Lifejackets - The Sunday Independent writes on Donegal firm Mullion Survival Technology's new innovative lifejackets that come with the latest tech to ensure help comes quickly.

The compact design sits like a collar around the user, with plenty of room for movement, but most important is the built-in GPS beacon that pinpoints the location of the user to rescuers, and a bright light that activates automatically once they hit the water.

What's more, each Mullion lifejacket is registered to a particular user, so that emergency services can know exactly who they're searching for when the alarm is raised.

Mullion's devices have already been credited with saving the life of a fisherman off Co Down, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, and as of this year will be the standard personal flotation device (PFD) for the Irish fishing fleet.

Independent.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Water Safety

#Fishing - Fishermen in Ireland have a risk of on-the-job fatality that's 40 times greater than average, as The Irish Times reports.

The shocking statistic comes with new figures from the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), which is launching a new campaign to reduce the rates of death and serious injury in the fishing sector.

This campaign will concentrate on the proper management of heath and safety before leaving port as well as safety at sea, by encouraging fishing boat skippers to carry out proper risk assessments and prepare safety statements.

Current figures show only 20% of vessels inspected last November by the HSA has completed a risk assessment, while just 30% had a safety statement.

HSA chief Martin O'Halloran said: "It’s vital that skippers and fishermen manage the very serious risks they’re facing and work to ensure that tragedy doesn’t strike their boat.” More on the story HERE.

Meanwhile, The Irish Times is also reporting on the loss of as many as 230,000 farmed fish off West Cork in one of the series of Atlantic storms that battered Ireland's coasts in the first few weeks of this year.

A site survey at an aquaculture facility run by Murphy's Irish Food in Bantry Bay found that storm damage to its mooring system and several of its cages caused the death of most of its farmed salmon.

But local anti-fish-farming campaigners Save Bantry Bay say that the damage also resulted in the "largest single salmon farm escape" in Irish history, posing a "significant genetic risk" to native wild stock.

The Irish Times has more on this story HERE.

Published in Fishing
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#RushPier - "Reckless disregard" for the safety of bathers on the part of Fingal County Council was the finding of the High Court in its award of more than €59,000 in damages to a man injured in a fall at a popular North Co Dublin swimming spot.

As The Irish Times reports, 58-year-old Joseph McGrath slipped on algae on the steps of Rush pier on 27 July 2009, causing him to break his arm and twist his ankle, and putting the self-employed barber out of work for three months.

McGrath sued Fingal County Council, claiming its negligence over failing to ensure the safe condition of the pier for swimmers in the harbour.

Justice Daniel Herbert found in his favour, saying that the council knew the steps - though originally for boat access - were regularly used by swimmers, but failed to apply standard safety measures such as a installing a handrail.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Irish Harbours
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#Lifeguards - Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is currently recruiting lifeguards for the summer season 2014.

Appointments will be made from a panel of successful candidates, each of whom must be at least 17 years of age on 13 May 2014 and must hold a current Irish Water Safety National Beach Lifeguard Qualification, Royal Life Saving Society of Ireland (RLSS) certification or equivalent as recognised by the International Lifesaving Federation (ILS).

All candidates successful at interview will be required to undergo a practical test in basic life support (BLS), swimming ability, lifesaving techniques and a theory test conducted by an examiner(s) nominated by Irish Water Safety.

Candidates successful at interview must be prepared to undergo a test in swimming under competent judges (date and venue to be decided). To assist potential candidates to achieve the Beach Lifeguard Award, the following training will be provided by:

Paul Devins with Irish Water Safety (contact 087 254 2700)
Kevin Coyle with the RLSS (contact 086 343 1793)

The wage rate is €10.61 per hour plus appropriate differentials.

Successful candidates, when offered the position of lifeguard, will be subject to Garda vetting. Please note that the Garda Vetting Form is only available in hard copy, and must be fully completed by every candidate.

The Parent/Guardian Consent Form should only be completed in respect of candidates who are under 18 years.

Application forms and full particulars of office for the above posts may be obtained from the Information Desk, County Hall, Marine Road, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin or Human Resources Department (Tel: 01 205 4700, Ext 4218, 4246) or from the County Council Office, Dundrum Office Park, Main Street, Dundrum, or by email to [email protected]

Completed application forms should be returned to the Human Resources Department not later than 4.30pm on Friday 7 March 2014. Candidates may be shortlisted based on the information supplied on the application forms.

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is an equal opportunities employer.

 

Published in Water Safety
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#WaterSafety - Photographer Aidan Tarbett sent us this and other shots of a man with two young children playing in the sea spray and high winds at Bullock Harbour in Dalkey, South Dublin on Monday 3 February.

In defiance of warnings to the public by the Irish Coast Guard to avoid exposed coastal areas as Ireland continues to be assaulted by storm-force winds and heavy sea swells, this man was very lucky not to see the children swept into the harbour by the waves crashing across the pier. Scroll down for more photos in the sequence.

Man and children at Bullock Harbour

Man and children at Bullock Harbour

An example of what can happen when such warnings are ignored occurred last month in Howth, when a man was swept by a wave off the upper section of the North Dublin port's East Pier, injuring his ankle in the 10-foot fall to the lower level.

And just three days ago 10 people had to be rescued from a bus struck by a large wave on the seafront in the Welsh town of Newgale.

Published in Water Safety

#WaterSafety - The public has been reminded yet again to stay away from the water's edge as the country continues to be battered by huge waves and storm-force winds after a man was injured on Howth's East Pier this afternoon (6 January).

As TheJournal.ie reports, the man was caught by a wave while walking along the upper portion of the North Dublin pier and thrown some 10 feet to the lower section, injuring his ankle in the fall.

The man has ventured onto the wave-lashed pier despite widespread warnings to the public from the Irish Coast Guard and Irish Water Safety to keep a good distance from the water during this latest orange alert weather warning from Met Éireann.

Coastguard chiefs have reiterated last week's appeal by Irish Water Safety for people to stay away from waterside areas until the current series of storms and high tides has passed.

Last week Waterways Ireland also warned of the dangers posed by rising tides in inland harbours and waterside areas as flooding persists in various spots nationwide.

Published in Water Safety
Tagged under

#Safety - Bundoran RNLI is among those urging water users to exercise common sense and safety over the current holiday period as persistent stormy weather makes sea conditions treacherous around the Irish coast.

With water hobby gifts like surfboards, bodyboards and kayaks a certainty under the tree on the 25th, the RNLI advises that all usual safety checks should be performed before heading out into the water.

If you are using equipment for the first time, make sure you know how to operate it correctly and most of all take a sensible approach when using this equipment in the water.

Check the weather forecast, check the conditions of the beach or water areas you are in and if you are unsure, seek the advice of a local surf school or coastguard who will be happy to advise you of any imminent or hidden dangers.

Bundoran RNLI lifeboat operations manager Tony McGowan adds: "We want people to enjoy the holidays and any new sporting gifts they receive for Christmas but of course we also want people to be safe and come back in one piece if they venture into the water.

"The lifeboat will as usual be on standby 24/7 over the holiday period and will be ready to launch if requested."

As the end of the year draws close, all of the crew of Bundoran RNLI wish to thank each and every supporter who has contributed to the charity this year for their generous donations. 

Volunteer lifeboat press officer Shane Smyth says: "It’s been a busy year for our fundraising teams with big events like the annual Dinner Dance, the Soapbox Race, the Station to Station Challenge and of course the Boat Push

"Thanks to all of our supporters and our fundraisers who work quietly in the background. Your help to keep us running is very much appreciated. We’d like to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a happy and safe 2014."

Tickets are now on sale for the annual dinner dance which takes place at the Great Northern Hotel on Friday 31 January 2014 with entertainment from Derek Ryan.

Published in Water Safety

#irishwatersafety – The Christmas season is a time when thousands of people around the country must take extra care when taking part in sponsored swims in support of the many charitable causes. Thousands more are at risk when taking walks by rivers, lakes and shorelines and even more are lulled into a false sense of security when visiting relatives living close to water hazards such as slurry pits, exposed drains and canals. Irish Water Safety has compiled a Christmas survival guide to staying safe around water at Christmas time.

Christmas and New Year Charity Swims:
Get in, Get out, warm up.
Christmas day charity swimmers occasionally take chances beyond what is acceptably safe, finding themselves left without sufficient strength to climb out of the water due to the cold.
Cold winter waters can cause "cold shock" and hypothermia can set in within minutes, overwhelming the fittest of swimmers. If sea conditions deteriorate then the charity swim should be cancelled. If you see a person in difficulties do not attempt a rescue for which you are not trained. Make use of any nearby rescue equipment such as a ringbuoy and in the event of an emergency call the emergency services at 112. No alcohol should be taken before the swim.

People organising these swims on Christmas Day, St. Stephen's Day or New Year's Day should ensure that they provide comprehensive details of each event to the Irish Coast Guard and local Gardai.
Each event should have a Safety Officer appointed, who will advise those concerned on safety and have the ultimate responsibility for making decisions in relation to the swim being on or off on the day.
If the seas are rough and weather deteriorates, they should defer the event to a more suitable day without question - do not take a chance on running the event.
Many participants will not have swum since the summer and the temperature of the water has now dropped considerably. It is a fallacy that alcohol will keep you warm when entering the water; in fact it has the reverse effect and could kill you. Irish Water Safety strongly recommends that no alcohol be taken either before the swim or immediately after the swim and also remind people that they may be in breach of the drink driving laws when driving to or from the event.
Cold water can cause cold shock and hypothermia in minutes, because the temperature of the water at this time of year will be below 50°F/10°C.
Ensure that you have safe access and egress with appropriate shallow shelving or ladders as appropriate. Elderly people should be mindful that steps leading into the water might be dangerous due to the increased growth of algae in wintertime. Organisers should ensure that slipways or steps have been cleaned of slime, weed and algae. Contact your Local Authority to have this completed.
Swimmers' remaining in the water for extended periods in a gesture of bravado is not acceptable. The message is "Get In, Get Out and Warm Up".

General Water Safety over Christmas and New Year:

Supervise children at all times, but especially if you are on holidays abroad this Christmas.
Never swim alone in a pool unprotected by lifeguards; ensure that there are lifeguards on duty within the pool area.
Do not engage in any water-based activities after the consumption of alcohol.
Alcohol should not be consumed before your water safety activity
Always wear a lifejacket when boating or participating in other aquatic sports.
In a Marine Emergency call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard, always call early.
Avoid cold shock and hypothermia on Christmas and New Year Charity Swims. Throw a handful of water down the back of your neck before you take your plunge to help avoid cold shock.
Stay away from the edge when fishing from rocks or on the banks of rivers, or lakes always wearing a lifejacket.
Flooding:

Avoid flooded areas as fast running water and submerged hazards pose a serious threat.
Rising waters, fast flowing currents and dangerous hidden hazards are all present with rising and receding flood waters. Move to higher ground immediately using alternative routes to avoid becoming trapped and respect the power of fast rising waters and the dangers of exposed drains and submerged objects. No driver or pedestrian should take a chance passing through flooded roadways. Parents should caution children that floodwaters hide the true depth and that manhole covers may be open and that small streams when swollen are very fast and deeper than normal. Knowing what to do when surprised by localised flash flooding will help avoid property damage, injury and drowning.
What should I do when I hear a Flood Warning?

Listen to the national and local radio for met eireann updates. Click on http://www.flooding.ie/en/ for further information.
Check on neighbours particularly if they are elderly, infirmed or families with young children.
Move your vehicles to higher ground.
Move animal stock to higher ground.
Check your small craft to ensure they are well secured or moored, consider taking them up on a trailer for safety.
Make sure you have warm clothes, food, drink, a torch and radio.
Block doorways and airbricks with sandbags or plastic bags filled with earth. Floodgate products will work effectively also.
Switch off gas and electricity supplies if flooding is imminent.
Check the time of High Water in the Newspaper or at www.irishtides.ie

Personal Safety

Avoid flood waters at all times.
Carry a mobile phone at all times in case you need to call for help - call 112 in emergency.
Wear suitable protective clothing & a Lifejacket in on or around water.
Never try to swim through fast flowing water.
Never put your feet down if swept away.
Flooding on roads will be deeper at dips and around bridges.
Stay away from sea and flood defences.
When walking or driving, be aware of manhole covers and gratings that may have been moved due to the heavy flow of water.
Take care when using electric appliances in damp or flood conditions.
Remember that during the hours of darkness the dangers are multiplied.

Tides:
As you walk shorelines, keep a close eye on new moon tidal advances and carry your mobile in case you are cut off.
On December 17th and January 16th, a new moon will increase the range of our tides causing higher and lower tides, however there is still a risk between these periods where large areas of beach and rocks which we normally don't see will be exposed. Many people enjoy exploring these new areas of beach and in particular enjoy picking shellfish to eat. The risk of becoming stranded as the tide advances can quickly leave people cut off from the shore which is why people should carry their mobile and call 112 if required. All those boating, surfing, diving or swimming should be aware of tidal streams around our coast over the Christmas weekend and at all times.

Ice:
Should we experience a repeat of the icy conditions of 2010 and 2011, there are dangers specific to frozen canals, rivers and lakes. Children are especially at risk as they are attracted to playing on ice. Constant supervision is the key to keeping children off the ice as there is no such thing as safe ice. Also at risk are individuals who attempt to rescue others fallen through ice. Ice-related drownings often occur when the rescuer gets into difficulty attempting to rescue another person or a family pet. Playing or fishing on the frozen edges of a river, lake or canal is perilous as ice can be quite thick in one area yet dangerously thin in others.
Ice Safety Tips to stay out of danger

Rescuing another person from ice can be dangerous. The safest way to perform a rescue is from shore. Use your Mobile.
Call for help at 112 and ask for the Emergency Services. Give your precise location, the number of people in difficulty and any conspicuous building or landmark nearby.
Check if you can reach the person using a Ringbuoy and rope, long pole, items of clothing or branch from shore - if so, lie down and extend the pole to the person.
If you cannot reach them then pass out something that will float e.g. a ringbuoy, empty water proof container e.g. oil, milk containers.
Instruct the casualty to keep still to maintain their heat and energy;
If you go onto ice, wear a lifejacket and carry a long pole or branch to test the ice in front of you. Bring something to reach or throw to the person (e.g. pole, weighted rope, line or tree branch).
When near the break, lie down to distribute your weight and slowly crawl toward the hole.
Remaining low, extend or throw your emergency rescue device (pole, rope, line or branch) to the person.
Have the person kick while you pull them out.
Move the person to a safe position on shore or where you are sure the ice is thick.
All casualties should be taken to hospital even if they appear to be unaffected by their ordeal as they will be suffering from hypothermia.
Never go out on ice alone and especially at night.

Published in Water Safety
Tagged under

#watersafety – Thirty-seven rescuers from twenty-two dramatic near-death incidents will receive recognition at Irish Water Safety's National Awards Ceremony at City Hall on Tuesday 19th November 2014, from 3pm to 5pm. Thirty-six lives were saved from drowning through the brave actions of these rescuers.

Mr Fergus O'Dowd TD Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources and Environment, Community & Local Government will present the "SEIKO Just in Time Rescue Award" to these rescuers in appreciation for saving so many lives.

"Tragically an average of 140 drownings occur in Ireland every year," commented Minister O'Dowd, "and although that's 140 too many, the figure would be even higher but for the dramatic efforts of these individuals who saved others from drowning and the ongoing work of volunteers teaching swimming and rescue skills. Last year, the 147 drownings in Ireland were higher than the annual average, reason enough to highlight the work of Irish Water Safety Volunteers and their partners in the public and private sector in educating more people on how best to enjoy our wonderful aquatic facilities more safely. Complacency around aquatic environments is simply not an option", he added."

"The tragic drownings during this summer's warm weather brought home the need for constant vigilance around water. During the hot spell, twelve people drowned in two weeks and in July alone, Lifeguards trained and assessed by Irish Water Safety, rescued 559 people from drowning."

"I appeal to all adults to make themselves more aware of the dangers in, on and around water", continued Minister O'Dowd. "It only takes seconds for tragedy to strike and this can so easily be avoided if people take responsibility for their own safety by learning about the hazards. I ask that people encourage friends and family to read Irish Water Safety's guidelines at www.iws.ie so that they don't become a drowning statistic."

"Drownings often happen quickly and silently with 80% of drownings occurring close to the victim's home. The range of aquatic activities is extremely varied yet what is tragically constant each year is the gender most at risk - males - tragically reflected in the fact that of the 147 drownings last year, 113 were male and 34 female. An alarming 47% of accidental drownings occurred in the 30-59 year age group clearly demonstrating that regardless of age, one is never too old to learn how to stay safe around water."

Long-Service Awards will also be presented, recognising 670 years of personal service of 29 Irish Water Safety volunteers from around the country for teaching swimming, rescue and water survival skills.

Published in Rescue
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