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New safety website launched

26th May 2009

There is an 18% reduction* in the number of leisure craft requiring assistance from the Irish Coastguard's rescue service, a welcome statistic that will continue to improve if more people taking to water based activities adhere to the simple safety steps required to stay safe. Wearing a lifejacket, not taking alcohol until after your water activity and being suitably trained in current best practice, are just three of the steps available at Irish Water Safety's new website.

In the run-up to the busy June Bank Holiday weekend, Irish Water Safety is asking the public to take responsibility for staying safe around waterways in a bid to reduce drownings during the summer season ahead. Children looking forward to swimming at Ireland's waterways this Bank Holiday weekend and throughout the summer can update their safety knowledge at a new website, www.aquaattack.ie being launched on Friday 29th May by Irish Water Safety, headquartered at Galway's Volvo Ocean Race docklands.

Parents and teachers can improve their knowledge of water safety best practices by logging on to the website. Children in particular need advice on how best to stay safe around water especially during warm weather, as many have drowned in just inches of water and within minutes of being unsupervised.

This new website, sponsored by Allianz in a community and social responsibility partnership with Irish Water Safety is designed to teach children important water safety messages vital to all aquatic environments. Ireland is blessed with some of the most beautiful swimming locations in the world. This website will give children the information that is essential to avoid drowning by prompting them on how to enjoy these waterways safely.

One of the key ways to help stay safe when swimming is to swim at Lifeguarded waterways, all of which are listed on Irish Water Safety's website. Safety guides can also be picked up at any Lifeguarded waterway nationwide throughout the summer.

With an average of 158 drownings every year, the following advice will help reduce accidental drownings:

1.     Don't swim alone

2.     Don't swim just after eating

3.     Don't swim when you're hot or tired

4.     Don't swim in strange places

5.     Don't swim out after anything drifting

6.     Don't stay in the water too long

7.     Don't swim out to sea

8.     Swim parallel and close to the shore

9.     Do what the lifeguard tells you

10.   Never use inflatable toys

11.   Pay attention to signs on the beach

12.   Don't be a bully

13.   Learn to use equipment before trying it out

14.   Learn Basic Life Support

There is an 18% reduction* in the number of leisure craft requiring assistance from the Irish Coastguard's rescue service, a welcome statistic that will continue to improve if more people taking to water based activities adhere to the simple safety steps required to stay safe. Wearing a lifejacket, not taking alcohol until after your water activity and being suitably trained in current best practice, are just three of the steps available at Irish Water Safety's website.

*Jan 1st -April 30th 2009 as compared to the same 4-month period in 2008

Irish Water Safety reminds the public to take the necessary actions listed in our 14 Steps to Safe Boating this weekend when thousands of people will go to sea on Galway Bay to view the Volvo Ocean In Port Races. View all tips at www.iws.ie.

Irish Water Safety encourages all members of the public to undergo water safety training so that they have the necessary lifesaving skills if required.

Afloat.ie Team

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