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Displaying items by tag: water safety

#WATER SAFETY - The Belfast Telegraph reports that an 11-year-old girl has died in an accident at the seaside near Portballintrae in Co Antrim.

The young girl, who has not yet been named, was taken to hospital in critical condition after getting into difficulties while body-boarding with her family at Bushfoot Strand yesterday afternoon.

Onlookers praised the efforts of the coastguard and bystanders in giving the youngster CPR before paramedics arrived.

However, a passer-by noted that the ambulance had some trouble in finding the access road to the beach - and added that the stretch is known by locals to be unsafe for bathing.

A spokesperson for the Belfast coastguard warned bathers to be wary of strong rip currents which are common on the north coast.

Published in Water Safety

#WATER SAFETY - Summer swimmers have been urged not to underestimate the coldness of the water after a teenager drowned in a Co Derry reservoir in the early hours of this morning.

BBC News reports that emergency crews were called to the scene at Creggan reservoir where a group of youths had been swimming.

The body of a 19-year-old man was recovered from the reservoir around 6.30am this morning. It's reported that his family were present at the scene.

The NI Fire Service also confirmed that they had to rescue another young man to had entered the water to try to rescue his friend.

Paddy Wilson from Foyle Search and Rescue said he believed the young people had been having a party at the reservoir, and the victim had tried to swim to a floating platform when tragedy struck.

The incident was similar to the death of 17-year-old Sean McNair from Donegal, who drowned after going into the water at Rathmullan Pier in July last year.

Published in Water Safety

#SAFETY– Warmer weather has turned many waterways into a playground for aquatic sports and boating activities. Accidents can happen fast on water and there may not be time to reach for a lifejacket in an emergency therefore don't just carry a lifejacket - wear it; if it's not on you, it can't save your life. That's the pressing message of a Bank Holiday campaign from Irish Water Safety, which is urging people to make sure that their lifejackets are in good order for the summer season ahead.

Of great concern is the fact that parents continue to bring children boating without ensuring that all on board wear a lifejacket. Warmer weather is enticing many to enjoy leisure boating activities nationwide and as this is National Water Safety Awareness Week, Irish Water Safety is advising all boat users to study its safe boating alert so that safety comes before complacency when boating.

Irish Water Safety's Safe Boating Alert:

Check condition of boat and equipment, hull, engine, fuel, tools, torch.

Check the weather forecast for the area.

Check locally concerning dangerous currents, strong tides etc.

Do not drink alcohol while setting out or during your trip.

Carry an alternative means of propulsion e.g. sails and oars or motor and oars.

Carry a first aid kit on board and distress signals (at least two parachute distress rockets, two red hand flares).

Carry a fire extinguisher, a hand bailer or bucket with lanyard and an anchor with rope attached.

Carry marine radio or some means of communication with shore.

Do not overload the boat - this will make it unstable.

Do not set out unless accompanied by an experienced person.

Leave details of your planned trip with someone ashore - including departure and arrival times, description of boat, names of persons on board, etc.

Wear a Lifejacket or Personal Flotation Device at all times.

Keep an eye on the weather - seek shelter in good time.

In Marine Emergencies, call 999 or 112 and ask for Marine Rescue.

Lifejackets Checklist

Visually Check all lifejackets and buoyancy aids for the following deficiencies:

Ensure CO2 Cartridges have not been punctured and are secured firmly

Ensure all zips, buckles, fasteners and webbing straps are functioning correctly and adjusted to fit the user

Check that their lights, if fitted are operating correctly

Ensure that Automatic Inflation devices if fitted are fully serviced and in date

Check that the valve or lifejacket is not leaking by inflating the lifejacket overnight

Published in Water Safety
Tagged under

#WATER SAFETY - A 27-year-old Irish tourist had died after drowning in Melbourne, Australia on Tuesday, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The tourist and a colleague, who have not yet been named, had reportedly entered the Yarra River in central Melbourne around 9pm intending to swim across. Some minutes later screams were heard from the water.

"At first I thought they were joking, I think most people did," said David Brearley, a barman at the nearby Riverland bar who had warned the pair not to attempt the crossing - but responded to the calls for help and swam out into the river.

Brearley was able to take one man to the shore where he was treated by paramedics. But the other man was lost despite the assistance of other bystanders.

His body was discovered some three hours later floating near a bridge close to the incident.

Paramedic Susie Dean praised Brearley's actions as "absolutely heroic", noting that there is "a very strong current in the Yarra".

The Sydney Morning Herald has more on the story HERE.

Published in Water Safety

#MCIB - The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) has called for better safety awareness among leisure boat users in its report into the deaths of two men off Helvick Head in Co Waterford in May 2010.

John O'Brien and Pat Esmonde were lost overboard from their small RIB on 23 May 2010, and their remains were recovered two days later. Post-mortems confirmed that both died by drowning.

The report does not conclude exactly how the incident occurred. But accounts from eyewitnesses who sighted the men in the minutes before state that neither was wearing a lifejacket, despite the legal requirement to do so - and despite O'Brien having no seafaring experience and Esmonde being unable to swim, as confirmed by their families.

The MCIB also noted that while there were two lifejackets aboard the vessel, they were for emergencies and not suitable for constant wear as per the requirements for the vessel class.

Other safety issues highlighted include the kill-cord on the engine, which was not being used, and the fact that the initial distress call was made by mobile phone and not VHF radio.

Though neither had any bearing on this specific incident, the MCIB warned in particular that mobile phone calls are closed in nature, whereas VHF distress calls can be heard and answered by any vessel in the vicinity.

The board recommends that the Minister for Transport "undertakes a highly visible information poster campaign on piers and launching areas relating to lifejackets, VHF radio and emergency contact details" and also reminds boaters of their legal obligations.

The full report is available to download as a PDF from the MCIB website HERE.

Published in MCIB

#MCIB - The decision to set out in poor weather, coupled with limited safety instruction, led to the tragic death of a Romanian angler on Lough Mask last summer, according to a report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB).

Mircea Ungur drowned after the angling boat he was in capsized in choppy waters brought on by squalling Force 8 winds on the afternoon of 8 May 2011.

Ungur had a tracheostomy tube in his throat resulting from a previous battle against throat cancer, and drowned after taking in water through this tube, the MCIB concluded. It was also found that most of his companions and the guide knew nothing about the tube.

At the time of the incident, Ungur had been on an angling holiday in Co Mayo with five colleagues accompanied by a fishing guide. On the morning of 8 May the group set out from Cappaduff in Tourmakeady on two boats, following a brief discussion about fishing and safe departure from the pier.

Winds were already reaching Force 4-6 when the group departed and sought a sheltered area of the lough to fish. After lunch winds had picked up to Force 8 and the guide signalled for a return to Tourmakeady.

At around 1.5km from the pier at Cappaduff, a wave swamped the leading boat that contained Ungur, a companion and the guide. All three on board, who were wearing buoyancy aids, went into the water.

Ungur was the first taken on board the other boat after some 10 minutes in the water. He was not moving or communicating with the others, and CPR was not administered until the boat reached the shore 20 minutes later. Ungur was pronouced dead just before 3pm.

The report concluded that the group had departed despite reservations among them about the poor weather, which had been correctly forecast that day. There was also little discussion with the anglers about their level of boating experience, the weather, or any disabilities that would affect their safety on the water.

The MCIB recommended that a full safety briefing should be given to all those hiring angling boats. It also urged the enforcement of safety regulations and certification for recreational water craft.

The full report is available to download as a PDF from the MCIB website HERE.

Published in MCIB

#SURFING - Tramore Surf Lifesaving Club is seeking planning permission for the development of a new clubhouse and national training centre on Tramore's promenade.

The state-of-the-art development would involve the completion of a three-storey ocean-themed building along the seafront, with club changing facilities and a shower area; rescue boat housing; an emergency first aid room; conference room; and a lifeguard area with an observation deck on the third floor.

The building would also incorporate the latest in renewable energy technologies to minimise the club's carbon footprint and tailoring our energy usage to our needs.

It is projected that the new clubhouse would also house Waterford County Council's beach lifeguards during the summer months, which will also allow for co-operation in relation to water safety and lifesaving skills.

Waterford Today has more on the surf club's proposals HERE.

Published in Surfing
#WATER SAFETY - Two teenage surfers have been honoured for their brave effort in rescuing a young boy from drowning earlier this year, The Irish Times reports.
Bernard Cahill, 17, and Donough Cronin, 16, from Ennis received Just in Time Awards at Irish Water Safety's annual awards ceremony in Dublin Castle on Tuesday.
The duo were recognised for going to the aid of nine-year-old Gearóid Rogers, who was caught in a rip current near Spanish Point with his father Ger.
The Rogers family paid tribute to the surfing teens at the ceremony, with Ger saying he and his son were "lucky to be alive" thanks to their actions.

#WATER SAFETY - Two teenage surfers have been honoured for their brave effort in rescuing a young boy from drowning earlier this year, The Irish Times reports.

Bernard Cahill, 17, and Donough Cronin, 16, from Ennis received Just in Time Awards at Irish Water Safety's annual awards ceremony in Dublin Castle on Tuesday.


Bernard Cahill and Donough Cronin who received Seiko Just in Time awards with Roz Rogers with her Gearoíd who was rescued along with his father Ger by the two recipients at Spanish Point in July this year at the Irish Water Safety Awards 2011 in Dublin Castle presented by Phil Hogan TD, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government with Ms. Breda Collins, Chairman of Irish Water Safety.

The duo were recognised for going to the aid of nine-year-old Gearóid Rogers, who was caught in a rip current near Spanish Point with his father Ger.

The Rogers family paid tribute to the surfing teens at the ceremony, with Ger saying he and his son were "lucky to be alive" thanks to their actions.

Published in Water Safety
Irish Water Safety has a serious message to everyone enjoying waterways in August - Swim at Lifeguarded Waterways. Irish Water Safety trained Lifeguards will provide all the information and protection you need to stay safe during the busiest month of the year for water-based activities so check for a Lifeguarded waterway near you on The range of aquatic activities is extremely varied yet what is tragically constant each year is the most at risk - males - tragically reflected in the fact that 28 males and 5 females drowned accidentally in 2010. The danger of accidental drowning is also clearly present for all . In 2010, 5 drowned aged under 24, 5 drowned aged 25-45 and alarmingly 16 people drowned aged 45-65. This clearly demonstrates that regardless of age, one is never too old to learn how to stay safe around water. August is the most popular month for outdoor swimming which can be enjoyed safely by heeding the following swimming safety tips:
  1. Swim with others, not alone.
  2. Swim parallel and close to the shore within your depth.
  3. Never use inflatable toys in open water.
  4. Never swim out after anything drifting.
  5. Pay attention to signs on the beach.
  6. Never swim in the dark or late at night.
  7. Swim in familiar places, avoid strange places.
  8. Avoid staying in the water too long.
  9. Never swim out to sea.
  10. Do what the lifeguard tells you - lifeguarded waterways are listed at
  11. Don't be a bully
  12. Digest food before swimming.
  13. Wait a while before swimming if you're hot or tired.
  14. Learn to use equipment before trying it out.
  15. Learn resuscitation skills.

Use days of inclement weather that keep children indoors as an ideal opportunity for them to learn all about staying safe by logging onto Irish Water Safety's website for children, which contains games, exercises and advice so that children know how to stay safe in, on and around water. Water-safety advice that will safe life: Although the number of drownings in 2010, at 112, was the lowest on record since 1952, we will only continue this welcome decline if the following rules, however familiar they seem, are never taken for granted:

Wear a Lifejacket. Find out what device suits your needs at Avoid unsupervised areas. Whenever possible, swim in an area that has a lifeguard. Irish Water Safety has details of all lifeguarded waterways nationwide.

Stay vigilant abroad. The picture-postcard scenes at venues abroad can often mask hidden dangers. Beaches and swimming pools may not be guarded and warning signs may differ. 14 people drowned whilst on holiday abroad in 2010, 17 the year before.

Learn swimming and lifesaving. Irish Water Safety has swimming and lifesaving classes for children and adults. Log on to find one near you at

Take lessons when you try a new water sport. Start your lessons before your trip. Be sure you tell a responsible adult where you plan to go.

Never go alone. You'll be safer and have more fun if you pair up with another adult for water sports. If one of you gets into trouble, the other can help - and call for additional help if necessary. Always wear a Personal Flotation Device.

Watch for changing weather. Be prepared to get out of the water and take cover if the skies look threatening.

Avoid alcohol. Water sports and alcohol don't mix. Tragically, alcohol is often a factor in adult deaths from drowning or injuries incurred in the water. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination - all essential for swimming and boating well and avoiding hazards in the water.

Watch children constantly. Children are irresistibly attracted to water. Take the time to protect your children from the dangers of water. Teach them in advance at

An analysis of drowning statistics for 2010 is available here.

Published in Water Safety
Tagged under
Drowning is frighteningly the second cause of death and injury for children in the EU, the primary causes are inability to swim and alcohol induced poor supervision of children - particularly on holidays. "We must remember that children can drown in as little as 2 inches of water and they drown in silence."

"Water is our most valuable and deadly resource. On average 150 people drown in Ireland each year. Most of these tragic deaths happen inland, in rivers or lakes or around farms and homes."

"These accidents are completely preventable and usually stem from a lack of awareness of basic water safety principles. All too often water safety education is confined to sea bordering communities this must clearly change."

"I have written to Minister Quinn proposing that water safety education be as prevalent in national schools as the 'safe cross code.'

Adolescents under the influence of alcohol and males over the age of sixty-five are also in the high risk category "thus highlighting the need for adult water safety courses."

Thankfully the average drowning figures in Ireland have decreased from 173 people in the late 1990's and early 2000's despite the increased popularity of water sports. Higgins commended the work of the Irish Water Safety Organisation & Simon Coveney who recently launched the 'Wearing a Lifejacket May Save Your Life,' "this is exactly the type of initiative that is needed, but we need to go even further in order to spread the water safety message to ordinary swimmers."

Despite the recent reduction in drowning incidents our attention must remain with the 150 lives needlessly lost. "These deaths are 100% preventable and everybody needs to assume responsibility to ensure that they are informed about water safety practices and that they in turn inform or responsibly supervise their children."

"I am calling for the introduction of powerful, strong and graphic ads similar to those issued by the RSA so that the dangers of water are not ignored."

Higgins continued to emphasis that basic advice available online or from local swimming pools could save lives and help us ensure that we go further than the current 20% reduction in drowning accidents."

Further information:

Irish Water Safety Guide to Safe Swimming:

  • Do not swim alone
  • Do not swim just after eating
  • Do not swim when you are hot or tired
  • Do not swim in strange places
  • Do not swim out after anything drifting
  • Do not swim out to sea
  • Do not stay in the water too long
  • Swim parallel and close to the shore
  • Do what the lifeguard tells you
  • Never use inflatable toys
  • Pay attention to signs on the beach
  • Do not be a bully
  • Learn to use equipment before trying it out
Published in Water Safety
Tagged under
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