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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

Dublin Port Company (DPC) has today launched a new water safety awareness campaign, bringing comedy stars Darren Conway and Joe McGucken aboard to help spread the important message. The campaign is being launched ahead of the bank holiday to help promote the safe and responsible use of Dublin Bay for leisure and recreation this busy summer season and encourages anyone planning a trip on the water to “always think water safety”. According to a new survey on water safety commissioned by DPC, half of people say they are not well attuned to water safety.

In the past number of years, DPC has continued to observe an increase in the number of people enjoying water-based sports and activities in the surroundings of Dublin Bay and Dublin Port, often for the first time. Unfortunately, these same surroundings can be potentially very dangerous, including the active, busy shipping lanes, where large ferries and cargo ships operate year-round.

The survey undertaken by DPC indicated that swimming was the most popular water-based activity undertaken by the public, with 50% of participants having engaged in the activity. Only around 20% of swimmers always use a tow float when in the water, which is a simple safety device used to aid visibility. Swimming was followed by Canoeing/Kayaking and Rowing as the next most popular pursuits.

Only 10% indicated they were very familiar with various aspects of these large vessels that frequent Dublin Bay. Awareness surrounding large vessels is strongly influenced by water activity engagement; those who do not participate in any activity are significantly more likely to be unaware of aspects of the large vessels. While two-thirds indicated that they would be aware of basic safety protocol and equipment like lifejackets and first aid kits, only 26% said they were very familiar with VHF Radio, an important safety communications and alert system.

Members of the city’s established boat and water sports clubs will already be very familiar with the dos and don’ts of crossing Dublin Bay, navigating the shipping lanes at Dublin Port or enjoying the River Liffey. Nonetheless, less experienced members of the public can find themselves in dangerous circumstances, requiring assistance from the DPC team on occasion.

As part of the campaign, DPC has created a starter’s guide to basic safety etiquette on the water, including a new map showing a simplified version of the shipping lanes at Dublin Port where permission to cross is mandatory for all leisure craft users. This information, and more, is available at

Dublin Port’s Shipping Lanes Map

Speaking about the campaign, Darren Conway said; “Having worked with Dublin Port on this campaign last year, I was delighted to be asked to come back and reprise my character of Backstroke Conway. Lads my age are the main people who might find themselves getting in trouble out there on the water so I’m more than happy to help spread this message, and have a bit of fun doing it!”

 Comedians Darren Conway and Joe McGucken with the Dublin Port water safety messageComedians Darren Conway and Joe McGucken with the Dublin Port water safety message Photo: Damien Eagers

Dublin Port Harbour Master, Captain Michael McKenna, said; “With almost 50 ship arrivals or departures per day, the shipping lanes of Dublin Bay and the River Liffey are very busy, with multiple vessels often moving at the same time. These large ships must navigate within the deep water of the shipping lanes, so it is vital that smaller vessels keep clear and stay safe.

We love to see the water enjoyed safely. By being aware of the risks, making safe decisions and having the appropriate safety equipment people can enjoy the magnificent environs of the river and bay.”

Note on Jet Skis and Personal Watercraft (PWC)

Jet ski and PWC users are reminded to adhere to the 6 knots speed limit when within 60 m of a pier, jetty, slipway, mooring, shore or another vessel and 120 m of a swimmer or dive flag. Freestyling is not permitted within 200m of swimmers, or the shoreline.

Download Dublin Port’s Water Safety Flyer and Dublin Port’s Shipping Lanes Map below 

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Twenty-four lives were saved from drowning by rescuers who were recognised at Water Safety Ireland’s online National Annual Awards Ceremony on Tuesday.

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD presented the ‘Seiko Just in Time Rescue Award’ to the rescuers in appreciation for saving so many lives. “It is an honour to pay tribute to these deserving award recipients”, commented Minister Humphreys. “Without their quick thinking, the outcomes could have been very different. On average 115 people drown in Ireland every year* and while one drowning is one too many, the figure would have been higher but for their lifesaving reactions.”

In paying tribute to the awardees, Minister Humphreys added, “As everyone here today knows, drowning is a needless tragedy. 76 people drowned last year alone – a figure that would be even higher but for the efforts of individuals here today and the ongoing work of volunteers. You, the award recipients, are being honoured today because you have the commitment, skills and courage in promoting water safety. The service given by each of today’s awardees is exceptional and you deserve this special recognition.”

Seamus O'Neill, Vice Chairman of Water Safety IrelandSeamus O'Neill, Vice Chairman of Water Safety Ireland
Other recipients include 23 volunteers who will be presented with Long-Service Volunteer Awards, recognising a combined total of 500 years of personal service teaching swimming, water rescue and survival skills in communities nationwide. “I would like to commend the efforts of Water Safety Ireland volunteers who devote their time and contribute to the year on year trend of reduced drownings”, continued Minister Humphreys. “The Lifeguard service is also crucial to safety on our waterways and would not be possible without the teaching and assessment conducted by Water Safety Ireland Volunteers nationwide. This summer, Lifeguards rescued 473 people from drowning, administered first aid on 6,787 occasions and reunited with their families, a total of 516 lost children found wandering unsupervised near water.”

“I would ask all adults to make themselves more aware of the dangers of drowning”, commented Seamus O’Neill, Vice-Chairman of Water Safety Ireland. “Tragedy can strike in seconds but with the right knowledge, skills and attitudes everyone can avoid the hazards and take responsibility for their own safety. Encourage your family, friends and colleagues to read Water Safety Ireland’s guidelines at so that they can enjoy Ireland’s waterways safely.”

The Seiko Just in Time Award was presented to those who helped save someone at risk of drowning.

Without their quick thinking, the outcomes could have been very different.

1. Ruairi Brennan – Laois
In July this year, while swimming at the River Nore in County Laois, Ruairi noticed a woman who was unable to swim enter the water. He tried to assist her and quickly realised that he needed to take her in tow. Ruairi calmed the woman down and managed to take her in a carry to the bank. Well done Ruairi.

2. Tina Kavanagh – Kilkenny 
In the summer of 1985, Tina was a teenager swimming at Graignamanagh, County Kilkenny when she noticed a young boy in distress in the water. He had gotten into difficulty after receiving an accidental knock to his head. He subsequently swallowed water and began to panic. Tina swam to the boy and tilted his head back, all the while reassuring him and eventually took him to safety.
Well done Tina for your quick thinking.

3. Gary Heelan – Cork 
On the 6th of November last year, Gary was out for a walk on the banks of Blackwater, Mallow, Co Cork. He noticed a young woman in the river on the opposite side of the bank, who was holding on to a tree and in difficulty. Gary immediately ran across the bridge, down the opposite bank of the river and contacted the emergency services. He made his way to the casualty and tried to assist her from the bank. Gary entered the water and against a strong flow managed to help her to safety.
A very well deserving award indeed. Congratulations Gary.

4. Patrick Mungovan – Clare
In July this year, a young girl fell into the water at Quilty pier, County Clare. Patrick became alerted to the situation and without hesitation jumped into the water, before bringing her back to safety. Patrick was aware of the area and was able to identify a slipway to bring the young girl back to safety. Congratulations Patrick.

5. Zoe Lally – Sligo 
In March this year, a group of youths were playing at Easkey pier in County Sligo and watching the waves wash over the top of the pier. A large wave suddenly broke over the breakwater and down onto the boys, washing them off the pier and into the sea. Zoe, an experienced surfer, ran onto the pier and managed to pull two of the teenagers to safety with the aid of ringbuoys. She then swam out to the third boy and managed to bring him to safety further along the coast. A wonderful rescue, well done Zoe.

6. Daragh Flynn – Wicklow 
In July this year, Daragh was walking across a bridge at Clara Funpark, County Wicklow when he noticed a small child in the water. He immediately jumped into the water and picked her up into his arms. After saving her from the water he helped to warm her up and was assisted by an off-duty paramedic. They took her to a first aid room where they kept her warm until emergency services arrived. Another wonderful rescue, Well done Daragh.

7. Ger Daly - Galway 
In September 2019, Ger was swimming with a group at Salthill, County Galway when one of the group got into difficulty. He soon realised the man was unwell, at which point Ger turned him onto his back and towed him safely to shore where he regained consciousness. Ger waited with him until emergency services arrived and the man-made a full recovery. A very well done Ger.

8. Philip Owens – Louth 
In July this year, Philip noticed the coastguard passing by en route to a person in difficulty in the water at Whitestown, County Louth. He immediately located a kayak and paddled out to the person in difficulty. Philip gripped onto the man’s lifejacket and stayed in position until a rescue boat arrived at the scene. He then assisted the man onto the rescue boat. Well done Philip.

9. Michael Carrig (Just In Time Award) and Marguerite Carrig (Rescue Appreciation Award) – Clare
In July of 2005, Michael and Marguerite were boating when they observed changing weather conditions as another boating family were turning for home on the Shannon Estuary in County Clare. They followed the small boat as they realised it was in jeopardy of being overturned. They took the woman and children on board their larger boat and safely escorted the man on the small boat to his destination. Michael receives a Seiko Just In Time award and Marguerite receives a Rescue Appreciation award. Well done to you both.

10. Nikki Wan – Dublin 
In October this year, Nikki was walking her dogs along the Grand Canal, at Harold’s Cross bridge when she noticed a pair of men’s trainers submerged under the water. She grabbed the man’s hood and managed to bring him to safety to the riverbank. She then checked his pulse, placed him into the recovery position and remained with him until emergency services arrived. Nikkola would like to thank Justin from Dolphin's Barn Fire Station for nominating her and everyone at Water Safety Ireland for her award. Nikkola would also like to dedicate this award to her mum, and her stepdad Tony who is currently in hospital.

11. Tommy Moyna – Monaghan
On July 25th this year, Tommy was working on a farm when he heard shouting from a man and woman in difficulty in an adjoining lake. He immediately dived under the water and pulled the submerged woman above water. The man also held onto Tommy who successfully managed to tow the couple to safety. 

12. Mark Kavanagh – Wexford 
In July this year, Mark became aware of a woman in distress in the water at a bridge in Wexford town. The RNLI were on their way to the scene when they witnessed Mark lifting the woman out of the water and into his boat. He brought her to the Wexford quay front where emergency services were waiting. Well done Mark for your quick lifesaving action.

13. Joseph McNulty, Kristin McNulty and Sean McNulty – Donegal 
In September this year, McNulty family were walking on Bundoran Beach, County Donegal when they noticed three girls trapped on a sandbank by surrounding water. Two of the girls were trying to swim to safety and the third girl was now stranded up to chest level in the water. Kristin grabbed a ring buoy, while both Joseph and Sean entered the water up to their waist. The ring buoy was used to pull two of the girls to safety. As Joseph & Kristin edged closer to the third girl, Sean also entered the water with the ring buoy. He managed to reach her and pull her to safety in a cross-chest hold.
Well done Joseph, Kristin and Sean on a remarkable rescue.

The Rescue Appreciation Awards, for coming to assist in a rescue

1. The first recipient is Declan Reid from County Kildare, posthumously
In February 2021 Declan was on the bank of the River Barrow, with a rope tied to his son’s kayak. Suddenly the kayak overturned, at which point Declan jumped in to rescue his son Arron. Declan managed to hold Arron up in the water until other family members and members of the public were able to bring Arron to shore. Tragically, Declan went below the water and was lost to the river. A truly selfless act.

2. The next recipient is Stephen Clarke from County Dublin, posthumously.
In November 2012, Stephen was working at a hotel along the River Liffey when he heard cries for help coming from the boardwalk. A woman was in difficulty and Stephen immediately entered the water. He managed to reach the woman and brought her to the other side of the river, where another young man arrived to aid the rescue. They eventually made it to a ladder, and all were successfully pulled out of the water to safety. A situation that could have had a tragic outcome if not for Stephen’s efforts. Sadly, Stephen has since passed away due to an unrelated illness, but we are thankful and recognise his efforts to save a life.

Long Service Awards

Long Service Awards are presented in recognition of a voluntary commitment to promoting public awareness of water safety and rescue. 

Caitriona McMahon, Clare, 10 Years of Service
Alison Deane Clare 10
Josh Kelly Ballybunion CRBI 10
John McShane Sligo 10
Eddie Walshe Clare 15
Tara Spry Hayes Clare 15
PJ O’Gorman Ballybunion CBRI 15
Fiona Staunton Clare 15
Jean Mahon Kildare 20
Sinead Miller Dublin 20
Paddy Drumgoole Louth 20
Josephine O’Rourke Monaghan 20
John McGee Donegal 20
Evelyn O’Reilly Cavan 20
Philomena Lynch Cavan 20
Leo Mahon Kildare 30
Elizabeth Tivnan Kildare 30
Deirdre Webster Kildare 30
Clare McGrath Clare 30
John Staunton Clare 30
Ann Marie McGee Campbell Donegal 30
John Morrell Donegal 40
Frances O’Regan Louth 40

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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.


Published in Tom MacSweeney
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This bank holiday weekend, with more people expected to take part in water-based activities, the RNLI is sharing some advice and top tips to help people stay safe on the water, whether travelling to the coast or visiting inland waters.

RNLI Water Safety Lead, Kevin Rahill said: ‘This Bank Holiday weekend, many people are going to be heading to the water to enjoy themselves. We want to see people having fun in or on the water and keeping safe while doing it. By taking a few simple steps, everyone can reduce the risk of an accident.’

‘Even in Summer, water temperatures can be cold, rarely going above 15 degrees. Cold Water Shock can affect everyone. To avoid this, acclimatise to the water slowly to get used to the cold. 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.’

With swimming becoming increasing popular Kevin Rahill offered the following advice, ‘Always choose to swim in a lifeguarded area and swim between the flags. Stay within your depth and swim parallel to the shore. Watch out for rip currents, if you do get caught in one, try to swim parallel to the shore until you can feel you are out of the current before trying to swim shore. Inflatable toys are not suitable for any open water and should be kept for the pool. They can easily be blown offshore very quickly.’

For other activity such as water boating, sailing, canoeing, paddle boarding, wear an appropriate personal flotation device suitable for the activity, and always carry a means of calling for help.

Water safety Ireland adds:  Nine people have drowned at waterways on the island of Ireland in seven days, six at inland waterways, leading Water Safety Ireland to make a national stay safe appeal to the public throughout the Bank Holiday weekend and the month of August. People are advised to swim only at Lifeguarded waterways or in areas that are traditionally known to be safe and have ringbuoys available for rescues.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Diving in for a cool swim after a car journey in warm weather may seem tempting, but it multiplies the risk of drowning, Water Safety Ireland has warned.

As The Sunday Independent reports, the appeal has been issued on the eve of the UN’s first world drowning prevention day  – and after six people died in swimming-related incidents over the past week.

“Even if we have slightly cooler weather to come, travelling in a warm car increases the body’s core temperature, “ Water Safety Ireland chief executive John Leech explains.

“This exaggerates the impact of cold shock if one jumps into the water,” Leech says.

CEO of Water Safety Ireland John LeechWater Safety Ireland chief executive John Leech

Cold shock can induce uncontrolled breathing which can increase heart rate and blood pressure and cause cardiac arrest.

Water Safety Ireland has appealed to people to swim only in lifeguarded areas or on waterways where there is good local knowledge, with shallow shelving allowing people to remain safely their depth.

It is also reminding people never to use inflatable toys in water, to supervise children closely, to wear a lifejacket when on a leisure craft, and to avoid mixing alcohol with water activities.

Buildings and structures including Dublin Port’s diving bell will be illuminated in blue for UN world drowning prevention day, an initiative that was spearheaded by Ireland and Bangladesh.

Ireland records an average of 115 drownings annually.

In the decade to 2020, drowning was responsible for 1,151 deaths in Ireland - and over 2.5 million preventable deaths worldwide.

During the month of June alone, there were 27 rescues by lifeguards in five counties, according to figures supplied to Water Safety Ireland.

Lion's mane jellyfish

Meanwhile, there have been sightings of Lion's mane jellyfish on the east and west coasts at Malahide in Dublin, Mullaghmore in Sligo and Ballyvaughan, Co Clare.

A sting from a Lion's mane can cause nausea, sweating, cramps and headaches.

A spokesman for Sligo County Council warned that people can get into difficulties from panic caused if stung by one of these particular jellyfish.

Fatalities on inland waters

Five of the six fatalities in the water this week occurred inland.

Jay Moffett (13) died in Scarva, Co Down on Monday after he got into difficulty while swimming with friends, and Killian Casey (15) died in hospital late this week after he was rescued from Lough Sheelin, bordering Cavan, Westmeath and Meath on Tuesday afternoon

A 55-year old man named locally as Peter Jones died in Lough Melvin, Co Fermanagh on Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday evening, 29-year-old mother of two Natasha Corr lost her life at Swan lake outside Gowna village on the Longford-Cavan border.

Also on Wednesday,a man in his seventies named locally as Michael Hoey died in a snorkelling incident at Spencer Harbour, Drumkeeran, Co Leitrim.

A man in his sixties died at Dollymount strand, Dublin, on Friday in a suspected case of cardiac arrest.

Read The Sunday Independent here

Published in Water Safety

“Get your bearings — always think water safety”. That’s what Dublin Port harbourmaster Capt Michael McKenna is urging sailors, anglers, kayakers, windsurfers, kitesurfers, paddleboarders, swimmers and jetski users to remember on the lower reaches of the Liffey and out into Dublin Bay.

Actor and comedian Darren Conway has been enlisted for the port’s water safety campaign, which coincides with UN World Drowning Prevention Day this weekend.

In an interview with Wavelengths, Capt McKenna explains how it came about, and welcomes the increase in and activity on the water in recent months.

The campaign outlines eight steps (listed below) for water users to remember, starting with planning a voyage and checking weather, wind, and tides.

Dublin Port's new water safety flyerDublin Port's new water safety flyer

Dublin Port is handling up to 50 ship movements a day, and so Capt Mc Kenna urges craft seeking to cross shipping channels to call up the port’s vessel traffic system (VTS) on VHF channel 12.

VTS can advise the leisure craft as to when it is safe to cross the channel – and can also advise ships arriving and leaving to look out for smaller craft, he explains.

The benefits are two-fold. Kayaks and small white yachts or paddleboarders on a breezy day can be difficult to spot, he says.

“And the person on a smaller leisure craft has a much shorter horizon,” he explains.

If in a kayak or on a board, “you can’t yet see the ship coming over the horizon and it might be on top of you in six minutes,” he says.

“Please don’t be shy to call – VTS will be delighted with the call,” he says.

Compact VHF radios in waterproof pouches are a good investment for smaller craft users, he says.

Capt McKenna also reminds people in recreational craft to wear personal flotation devices (PFDs) at all times.

The PFD is no use in the boot of a car, he says, and he appeals to crew on larger yachts to remember this too.

“Isn’t it great to see so many people out on the water,” he adds.

You can listen to him on Wavelengths below

Dublin Port’s eight safety steps, which apply to anyone on the water right around the coastline, are:

  1. Plan your voyage: check the wind, weather and tide.
  2. Tell someone where you are going and your time of arrival/return.
  3. Wear a personal flotation device.
  4. Ensure your safety equipment is working, including VHF radio for boat users.
  5. Familiarise yourself with the location of the shipping lanes in Dublin Port.
  6. Keep a sharp lookout for other boats by sight and by sound, and radar if you have one.
  7. Call VTS on VHF Channel 12 to get traffic updates and permission to cross the shipping channel, or traffic routing schemes, at Dublin Port.
  8. In an emergency, call the Coast Guard on VHF Ch 16 or phone 112.

More information is on

Published in Wavelength Podcast
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Following the launch of its “Always Think Water Safety” awareness campaign earlier this month, Dublin Port Company (DPC) is issuing a reminder to the public to use Dublin Bay in a safe and responsible manner this weekend and for the remainder of the summer, with the heatwave bringing more people out to enjoy water-based sports and activities.

With the arrival of warmer temperatures and continued easing of lockdown restrictions, a growing number of leisure boat users, kayakers, paddle boarders, jet-skiers and sea-swimmers are venturing out into the surroundings of Dublin Bay and Dublin Port, many for the first time.

Unfortunately, some have also found themselves in potentially dangerous situations on the water requiring the guidance of Dublin Port crews to keep them clear of the shipping lanes, and DPC is keen to ensure everyone knows how to protect themselves and others.

DPC is encouraging anybody planning a trip on the water to “get their bearings - always think water safety” and to familiarise themselves with the basics on water safety in a new leaflet available here. Included is a new map showing a simplified version of the shipping lanes at Dublin Port, where permission to cross is mandatory for all leisure craft users. This information, and more, is available at:

The message has been reinforced by sketch comedian Darren Conway in his video here

Note on Jet Skis and Personal Watercraft (PWC)

Jet ski and PWC users are reminded to adhere to the 6 knots speed limit when within 60 m of a pier, jetty, slipway, mooring, shore or another vessel and 120 m of a swimmer or dive flag. Freestyling is not permitted within 200m of swimmers, or the shoreline.

Published in Dublin Bay
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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.


While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset


While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

© Afloat 2020