Irish Water Safety has stressed the importance of vigilance and caution to avoid drowning tragedies during our current heat wave. Many people nationwide are enjoying trips to waterways nationwide however further tragedies are always a danger with water temperatures still so low in many bathing places.
Cold water and currents on open water require more energy than swimming in a pool.
Many people are not used to open water swimming at present so they should exercise great care if swimming especially as the water temperature is hovering close to a cool 10 degrees. All activities should include the wearing of a correctly fitting and well maintained lifejacket with crotch strap at all times when on or near water.
Vital water-safety advice...
Ireland is blessed with some of the most beautiful swimming locations in the world. This advice is designed to teach children and adults important water safety messages vital to these open-water environments. The rules of water safety may seem familiar, however people often take them for granted and risk their lives if not adhered to:
- Wear a Personal Flotation Device such as a Lifejacket. Find out what device suits your needs at www.iws.ie.
- Avoid unsupervised areas. Never swim alone or after dark and do not stay in the water too long as you risk hypothermia.
- 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.
- Learn swimming and lifesaving. Irish Water Safety has swimming and lifesaving classes for children and adults.
- Take lessons when you try a new water sport. Start your lessons, if they're available, 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.
- 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
Discard any faulty lifejackets by destroying them
- In Marine Emergencies, call 999 or 112 and ask for Marine Rescue.
Water-related tragedies happen in the blink of an eye and it is a tragedy that an average of 146 lives are lost to drowning each year. Make sure you return safely to shore - and ultimately back home - by playing it safe.