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Crossroads Community Centre in Cong in County Mayo will be the venue for a boating safety event on Wednesday, 8th May, from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm. The free event, organised by Safe Water Training, is open to all and will be packed with informative activities and workshops.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) will run one of its Lifejacket Clinics, where attendees can get their lifejackets checked and learn how to keep them in good working order. The local Garda crime prevention team will also be present to offer advice on how to secure boats and avoid thefts of outboard engines and trailers.

Several companies will attend the event, offering workshops, advice, and information on training courses, safety equipment, engine servicing, lifejacket servicing, preventative maintenance, engine troubleshooting and more. Whether you’re a new or seasoned boater, a complete beginner, or someone interested in learning more about how to be safe on and around the water, this event has something for everyone.

“Boating is a wonderful and rewarding activity, but it’s important to prioritize safety and be prepared for any situation,” says Donnchadh, the event's organiser. We’re excited to bring together a range of experts and offer a variety of activities to promote boating safety and education.”

For more information about the event, please contact Donnchadh on [email protected] or call 085 132 5104.

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The Water Safety Ireland National Surf Lifesaving Championships showcased Ireland's top life-saving athletes on September 9th in Youghal, Co. Cork.

Over 200 competitors from ten counties competed throughout the day in various events, with Wicklow Ladies dominating in the Senior Overall category and receiving the prestigious President's Cup. The favourable weather conditions contributed to the team's victories in the Senior Ladies Openwater event and the Senior Overall category, while Clare won the Senior Men's Openwater event. The championships tested the core life-saving skills of speed, strength, endurance, and equipment handling.

Waterford dominated throughout in the Masters category, securing both the Masters title and the Overall combined Masters competition, featuring Openwater and Stillwater competitions. The sport's growing popularity boasts a following of over 4,000 active participants throughout Ireland, including leading lifeguards.

Simon McGarrigle, the Water Safety Ireland Sports Commission Chair, praised the competitors, coaches, referees, and volunteers for their pivotal roles in making the championships a huge success. The National Surf Lifesaving Championships bring together Ireland's top lifesavers in one place to compete at the highest level and increase their lifesaving skills through sport. The competitors patrol beaches and pools throughout Ireland and abroad throughout the year, meaning these championships have a positive impact on communities throughout the country.

The national squad recently returned from the European Junior Lifesaving Championships in Poland with an impressive haul of 24 medals, and Ireland's Senior national squad is gearing up to compete in the European Senior Lifesaving Championships in Belgium from September 16th to 21st. The 2024 season will begin with the Pool Rescue National Championships at the University of Limerick in mid-February, and anticipation for the event is already building throughout the country.

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Youghal is set to host the annual WSI Surf Rescue Championships this weekend, with local competitors from Cork seeking to benefit from home-field advantage. Co. Clare will be aiming to maintain their supremacy in the sport, which boasts a dedicated following of approximately 4,000 active participants throughout Ireland, including many leading lifeguards.

The competition will encompass a range of key skills, both in the ocean and on the beach, utilising a combination of athleticism, swimming, and rescue techniques. In February, a corresponding championship for pool rescue is held at the UL Sports Campus.

This year, over 200 competitors from ten counties, including seniors and masters, will be participating in the event, which commences at 9:00 am on Saturday. 

“The Surf Rescue Championships present a wonderful opportunity for Ireland’s top lifesavers to compete against one another and further enhance their lifesaving skills,” stated Simon McGarrigle, Chair of Water Safety Ireland’s Sports Commission. “Competitors are involved in patrolling beaches and pools in Ireland and offshore throughout the year. The sport provides so much worth to the community by improving the skillset of lifeguards at Ireland’s aquatic amenities.”

Ireland’s national squad recently came back from the European Junior Lifesaving Championships in Poland with an impressive haul of 24 medals, a testament to the heartily of volunteer coaches, referees, and competitors nationwide. The Senior national squad will likewise be departing next week for their opportunity to match the juniors in the European Senior Lifesaving Championships in Belgium from 16th to the 21st September.

WSI Surf Rescue Championships Competition Descriptions

Water Events

Surf Race: With a running start into the surf from the start line on the beach, competitors swim around the 400 m (280 m for Masters) course designated by buoys, returning to shore to finish between the finish flags on the beach.

Ski Race: Competitors steady their surf skis in line in knee-deep water about 1.5 m apart. Competitors must obey directions from the starter or check starter concerning surf ski alignment at the start. On the starting signal, competitors paddle their surf skis around the course marked by buoys and return to finish when any part of the surf ski crosses the inwater finish line – ridden, gripped, or carried by the competitor.

Ocean Man/Woman: Competitors cover a 1.2 km course that includes a swim leg, a board leg, a surf ski leg, and a beach sprint finish. Conditions of racing of each leg are as generally required for the individual conditions of that discipline including the rules governing the component disciplines: surf ski races, board races, surf races, beach sprints.

Board Race: Competitors stand on or behind the start line on the beach with their boards 1.5 m apart. At the start signal, competitors enter the water, launch their boards, and paddle the course marked by the buoys, return to the beach, and run to cross the finish line.

Beach Events

20m Flags: From a prone starting position on the beach, competitors rise, turn and race approximately 20 m to obtain a baton (beach flag) seated upright in the sand with about two-thirds showing. Since there are always fewer batons than competitors, those who fail to obtain a baton are eliminated.

90m Sprints: Competitors take their positions in their allotted lanes. At the starting signal, competitors race the 90 m (70 m for Masters) course to the finish line. The finish is judged on the competitors’ chest (only) crossing the finish line. Competitors must finish the event on their feet in an upright position.

Tube Rescue: Four competitors from each team participate in this event: a “victim,” one rescue tube swimmer, and two rescuers. The victim swims approximately 120 m to a designated buoy, signals, and waits to be rescued by the rescue tube swimmer. As they return to shore, the remaining two rescuers enter the water to assist. The event finishes when the first competitor in a team crosses the finish line while in contact with the victim.

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Agencies have issued a warning to the public regarding maritime safety during the current warm weather in Ireland.

The Irish Coast Guard, Water Safety Ireland, and the RNLI urge the public to pay attention to personal safety and follow safety guidelines when engaging in water and coastal activities.

Sea temperatures have reached a seasonal high, and maritime agencies are concerned that many people will be tempted to take a late summer swim.

These agencies are especially worried since nine people drown on average every month nationwide. Therefore, they advise the public to be mindful of the following advice during the current spell of warm weather:

  • Never swim alone and ensure that somebody ashore is monitoring your activity.
  • Only swim in areas with which you are familiar.
  • Swim within your depth and stay within your depth.
  • Where possible choose lifeguard protected beaches. Lifeguards will be patrolling blue flag beaches throughout the weekend. If you are swimming elsewhere, swim in areas that are known locally as safe and where there are ringbuoys present for rescues.
  • Ask for local knowledge to determine local hazards and safest areas to swim. Pay attention to any safety signage.
  • Always supervise children closely and never leave them alone near water.
  • Never use inflatable toys in open water as a gentle breeze can quickly bring a person away from shore.
  • Make sure that the water’s edge is shallow shelving so that you can safely enter and exit.
  • The air temperature is warm but open water is cooler than air – avoid extended stays in the water as your muscles will cool, making swimming more difficult.
  • Alcohol is a factor in one third of drownings. Do not mix it with water activities.
  • To escape a rip current, swim parallel to the shore and then swim back ashore at an angle.
  • 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);
  • THROW a ringbuoy or any floating object to them.

If you experience difficulty in the water, FLOAT TO LIVE. Tilt your head back with your ears submerged, relax and try to control your breathing. Move your hands to help you stay afloat.

When boating, always wear a correctly fitting lifejacket or Personal Flotation Device and have to hand a VHF radio and a fully charged mobile phone in a waterproof pouch.

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

Published in Coastguard

Sport Northern Ireland has announced that the 2023 Get Wet Stay Safe Programme has achieved record engagement this year. The initiative, now in its second year, aims to raise awareness about water safety and has seen over 1,300 people participate in training sessions since the campaign began.

The campaign is designed to educate the public about the risks associated with water-based activities and to promote water safety messaging to StandUp Paddleboard users, Sit on Top Kayak users, and open water swimmers across Northern Ireland.

From May until August this year, the scheme saw weekly training sessions held in every county across the country. Get Wet Stay Safe, which is funded by SportNI, is part of a joint initiative with Swim Ireland, Swim Ulster, the RNLI, Irish Surfing, and the Outdoor Partnership, with marketing support from Outdoor Recreation NI.

Richard Archibald, Director of Sport at Sport NI, said: “It has been brilliant to see the increase in people taking part in water sports across Northern Ireland. Water sports are a great way to stay active and being outdoors has many benefits for our mental health and wellbeing, but open water also has significant risks."

Over the past two years, more than 1,000 people have participated in the Get Wet Stay Safe program, equipping them with the knowledge and confidence to enjoy their time on the water safely while being aware of the risks and what to do should a problem arise.

The program has seen a syllabus for training in StandUp Paddleboarding and sit-on-top kayaking established through engagement between the head of paddle sport at Tollymore National Outdoor Centre and the Canoe Association of Northern Ireland. All of the tutors who deliver the programme are qualified paddle sport instructors.

Richard Timms, Open Water Swimming Development Officer at Swim Ulster, commented: “We are thrilled with the success of the Get Wet Stay Safe campaign to date. This unique initiative continues to educate on water safety, arming participants with essential skills and lifesaving knowledge."

As part of the scheme, participants were asked to complete an Outcomes Based Accountability survey. Ethan Loughrey, Communication and Training Executive at Outdoor Recreation NI, said: “Participation in the initiative is at an all-time high, with 729 people engaging in training sessions to date, despite some adverse weather conditions. The results of our Outcomes Based Accountability survey show that at least 92% of the feedback from participants on all aspects of the training was very good."

At Outdoor Recreation NI, we’re aware of the many health benefits of exploring the great outdoors and would encourage people across Northern Ireland to do so safely and responsibly, Loughrey added.

Published in Water Safety

With a remarkable skill and determination display, the Irish Water Safety team made a big splash at this year’s European Junior Lifesaving Championships.

Ireland won five gold medals, ten silver medals and nine bronze medals at the championships. 

The European Junior Lifesaving Championships were held in Gorzow Wielkopolski and Meidzyzdroje, Poland from 20th August – 27th August.

The team of young lifesavers from Ireland competed against their European counterparts, and their impressive performance earned them a haul of 24 medals and a strong sixth-place finish overall.

Ireland placed sixth in Europe in the overall combined pool and beach competitions.

“We are very proud of the lifesavers who competed against their European counterparts and represented Ireland with such distinction,” commented Simon McGarrigle, Chair of the Water Safety Ireland Sport Commission. “Ireland has a long tradition of competing in international lifesaving competitions, and this year’s success is a testament to all the hard work by the lifesavers and coaches all year round.”

The championships simulate real-life rescue situations that lifeguards can expect to encounter and pit the best Junior Lifesavers from around Europe against each other in a series of gruelling water rescue scenarios in both pool and beach environments. The competition is an annual event open to those aged 18 and under, and it’s organized under the aegis of International Lifesaving Europe (ILSE), which controls the sport worldwide.

The sport of lifesaving exists to encourage lifesavers to maintain the skills, drills, and physical fitness required for performing their lifesaving duties. The sport is truly multi-disciplined and takes place in the pool, on the beach, and in the ocean, with close ties to swimming, athletics, kayaking, rowing, surfing and power boating, and is based on the equipment and skills that lifeguards use to perform lifesaving rescues.

Many of Team Ireland’s Junior Lifesavers will further hone their skills this weekend by taking to the waters for their perspective county teams at the National Junior Open Water Championships in Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo (Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd September). Junior lifesaving competitors typically become top Lifeguards, patrolling beaches and pools in Ireland and abroad.

Medal Winners Were:


  • Leana Liddane won Gold in the Swim Race
  • Oisin O’Grady and Ferdia Hayes won Gold in the Board Rescue
  • Amy Noble and Leana Liddane won Gold in the Board Rescue


  • Leana Liddane won Silver in the Board Race
  • Leana Liddane won Silver in the Oceanman/Oceanwoman
  • Amy Noble, Katie Cotter, Elin Blake and Lily Sheehy won Silver in the Tube Rescue
  • Amy Noble, Jamie Flynn, Leana Liddane and Finn Harris won Silver in the Mixed Ocean Relay


  • Ferdia Hayes won Bronze in the Oceanman/Oceanwoman
  • Jamie Flynn, Charlie Brennan, Oisin O’Grady and Cailim Van Dam won bronze in the Tube Rescue
  • Oisin O’Grady, Finn Harris, Jamie Flynn and Cailim Van Dam won bronze in the Beach Sprint Relay

Team Members:

  • Leana Liddane - Clare
  • Elin Blake - Clare
  • Lily Sheehy - Wicklow
  • Amy Noble - Wicklow
  • Saoirse Dolan - Wicklow
  • Katie Cotter - Cork
  • Oisin OGrady - Clare
  • Ferdia Hayes - Clare
  • Cailim Van Dam - Cork
  • Finn Harris - Wicklow=
  • Charlie Brennan - Wicklow
  • Jamie Flynn - Waterford
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To mark World Drowning Prevention Day, July 25, Water Safety Ireland, the Coast Guard and the RNLI are calling on people to “Do One Thing or Improve One Thing” to help prevent drownings.

Participation in a wide variety of year-round water-based activities has increased recently, especially in smaller leisure craft, such as kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddle boards (SUPs). The call to action asks that people have well-maintained equipment, a means of calling for help and properly fitting lifejackets or flotation devices on every trip.

At this time of year, many people are taking their first summer dip and are not climatised to the dangers presented by open water such as hidden depths and hazards, entanglement, and dangerous currents. Be alert to local warning signs and never assume that the absence of a sign indicates a lack of danger.

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

“Our call to action for World Drowning Prevention Day is that swimmers be aware of dangerous rip currents and to swim at Lifeguarded waterways or at a place that is traditionally known locally to be safe,” commented Roger Sweeney, Deputy CEO, Water Safety Ireland. “Rips are strong currents running out to sea that can quickly drag people from the shallows into deeper water. Rip current channels can often be mistaken for a safe swimming spot because the channel of water appears flat and is surrounded by a choppier sea surface. The best way to avoid rips is to swim at a lifeguarded waterway between the red and yellow flags. Last summer, Lifeguards rescued 583 people nationwide and provided first aid 6,500 times, so let Lifeguards be there for you this summer. Find out what you can do for World Drowning Prevention Day by visiting”

Coast Guard Operations manager Gerard O’Flynn said; “We appeal to everybody to attend to their own personal safety. Always check the weather forecast, confirming that weather is suitable for your chosen activity, check tide times and establish if the tide is ebbing or flooding. Users of all forms of recreational craft are reminded to familiarise themselves with the Code of Practice for the Safe Operation of Recreational Craft, which can be viewed at”

Speaking on World Drowning Prevention Day, Linda-Gene Byrne, RNLI Regional Water Safety Lead, said: ‘The summer holidays are well underway bringing an increase in the amount of people enjoying our coast and inland waters but this does mean there is likely to be an increase in the number of water-related incidents as well.’

‘Many of the incidents during the school holidays involve children and teenagers, and we would urge everyone – but families in particular – to be aware of the risks and know what to do in an emergency. ‘We want people to enjoy the water but urge everyone to think about their own safety, take time to familiarise yourself with our advice and to share this with your family and friends. The challenge for World Drowning Prevention Day is one that can easily be adopted by families enjoying the water with a simple conversation before engaging in their chosen activity.’

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

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This Easter bank holiday weekend, the Coast Guard, RNLI and Water Safety Ireland have issued a joint water safety appeal asking people to take some basic precautions to stay safe when they visit the coast or participate in water activities, coastal or inland.

With the evenings getting brighter and the weather improving, more people are expected to get out on the water and knowing some simple water safety advice could help prevent an accident or tragedy. Spring tides will also be this weekend, which means higher than normal water levels at full tide. This can increase the risk of getting cut off by tide, so people are asked to be mindful before planning a trip.

The three organisations are issuing some important safety advice to people who will be engaging in a range of water-based activities.

If heading out on the water or visiting the coast:

  • Always check the weather and tides
  • Carry a reliable means of raising the alarm (i.e., phone or VHF radio)
  • Tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back
  • Wear a suitable Personal Flotation Device on the water
  • 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

If you are kayaking, canoeing or paddle boarding:

  • 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.
  • Paddle in a group where possible. If you're exploring somewhere new, seek knowledge from experienced practitioners in the area.

Irish Coast Guard Operations Manager Micheál O’Toole said: ‘Many people will take the opportunity of the Easter long weekend to visit the coast and take part in coastal or water-based activity. Having some basic water safety knowledge in advance could make an enormous difference and even save a life. People need to be mindful that the water is very cold at this time of year, and it is easy to be caught out by tides. Never ever swim alone and if you are using a boat or kayak, let someone know you are out and when expected back. Please ensure that if an emergency arises and you need assistance, that you are capable of contacting the Coast Guard with a marine VHF radio, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or EPIRB. Never rely on a mobile phone alone.’

Lisa Hollingum, RNLI Water Safety Delivery Support added: ‘By taking a few simple steps, everyone can reduce the risk of an accident in or near the water. If you fall in unexpectedly, remember to ‘Float to Live’ – lie on your back and spread your arms and legs, gently moving them to keep afloat. Keep floating until you feel your breath coming back before calling for help or swimming ashore if nearby.’

Water Safety Ireland’s Deputy CEO Roger Sweeney said: ‘School children are particularly at risk on Easter holiday family trips to waterways nationwide. They are naturally curious about water and require close, uninterrupted adult supervision. Have a water safety conversation with the children in your care. Teach them the advice available at and be summer ready at’

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Ireland’s top Lifeguards will compete at Water Safety Ireland’s National Surf Lifesaving Championships at Rossnowlagh Beach, Donegal, from 9 am, Saturday.

Competitors will gather from counties nationwide and will include competitors from Ireland’s International Lifesaving Team who will compete in the World Lifesaving Championships in Italy later this month.

Competitors at the National Championships will have their skills tested in events that simulate emergency swimming rescue scenarios. Teams will fend off strong competition from the fittest Lifeguards nationwide in this gala of lifesaving - the most significant life-saving competition in Ireland. Ireland's best Lifesavers will contend with the challenging open water conditions on the Donegal coast to rescue potential “casualties” in testing swim races, rescue board races and other events, which culminate in exciting finals throughout the day.

Commenting on the additional challenges of open water competitions, the Chairman of Water Safety Ireland Clare McGrath, is confident of the team’s readiness for the challenge. “Athletes will not only compete with each other while using their life-saving equipment but also with the open water conditions of Rossnowlagh Beach as they vie for National Championship medals.”

“The Sport of Lifesaving has been developed to improve the standard of lifeguarding in Ireland. The skills they have honed will demonstrate their lifesaving skills that can be such an important lifeline in an emergency. Many competitors work as Lifeguards and rescue hundreds of people at risk of drowning.”

“Water Safety Ireland trains Lifeguards employed by local authorities at beaches, lakes, rivers and pools nationwide. We encourage the public to learn to swim and enrol in one of the many courses nationwide in the valuable skills of water survival and lifesaving."

"Take your family down to these Championships and enjoy a festival of lifesaving that may very well encourage you or a member of your family to learn these lifesaving skills.”

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As a weekend of aquatic activity approaches, Water Safety Ireland, the Coast Guard and the RNLI have issued a joint appeal calling for caution at waterways nationwide. The appeal aims to reduce summer drownings and comes as figures released for National Water Safety Awareness Week (June 13-19) show that 79 people drowned in 2021. A total of 1,108 drowned in the last ten years, an average of nine every month.

'79 people drowned in 2021, three more than in 2020 and although this is well below the annual average of 111 drownings every year over the last decade, it is still a tragic unnecessary loss of life and a significant public health issue’, commented Roger Sweeney, Acting CEO at Water Safety Ireland. Drownings can happen quickly and silently, and warmer weather sometimes lulls people into a false sense of security, however waterways are still quite cool which affects the muscles needed to swim safely back to shore. Swim at lifeguarded waterways or in designated bathing areas that are known to be safe and have ringbuoys present. Stay within your depth, supervise children closely and never use inflatable toys on open water as you can be swept from shore in an instant.

‘Alcohol is a factor in one third of drownings,’ added Sweeney, ‘and should never be consumed before any aquatic activity as it can lead to someone overestimating their ability and underestimating the risks. Mark Water Safety Awareness Week by having a water safety conversation with loved ones. Make them aware about dangerous rip currents and how quickly an incoming tide can cut walkers off from shore. The Covid-19 pandemic increased the level of interest in aquatic activities and consequently a busy period ensued for the Irish Coast Guard, the RNLI, the Community Rescue Boats and for the Lifeguards trained and assessed by Water Safety Ireland and employed by local authorities. This weekend, let the Lifeguards be there for you.”

Micheál O’Toole, Irish Coast Guard Operations Manager said: ‘This week affords us an excellent opportunity to focus on coastal and water safety and to promote awareness of the Code of Practice for the Safe Operation of Recreational Craft. It is 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.’ See;

Kevin Rahill, RNLI Water Safety Lead, added: ‘With the weather improving and more people going in or on the water, it is important to take some basic steps to stay safe while having fun. If you are going swimming, try to avoid going alone and make sure you are visible at all times by wearing a brightly coloured swim cap. Use a tow float and carry a suitable means of communication such as a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch and a whistle. If you get into trouble in the water, Float to Live: lean back, using your arms and legs to stay afloat. Control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety.

‘For those going afloat, wear a lifejacket or personal floatation device and carry a reliable means of raising the alarm such as a VHF radio or mobile phone. Go prepared by checking the weather forecast and tide times, tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back, and importantly, what to do if you do not arrive back on time. Should you get into difficulty or see someone else in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.’

Advice to keep safe:

  • Swim at Lifeguarded waterways: or at designated bathing areas that are traditionally known to be safe and have ringbuoys present.
  • Swim within your depth – stay within your depth.
  • Watch out for submerged hidden hazards and unexpected depths - get in feet first.
  • Supervise children closely and never use inflatable toys in open water.
  • When walking the shoreline be aware that incoming tides can quickly lead to stranding.
  • Wear a lifejacket when boating or angling and make sure that it is fitted with a crotch strap.
  • When boating, carry a VHF radio, and as a backup a fully charged mobile phone in a waterproof pouch.
  • If you see someone in difficulty or think they are in trouble, use Marine VHF CH 16 or call 112/ 999 and ask for the Coast Guard.
Published in Water Safety
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