Displaying items by tag: water safety
As the risk of drowning increases around warm weather bank holiday weekends, Water Safety Ireland is appealing to the public to adhere to the following guidelines during this phase of Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society.
- If you really must visit a waterway, only do so within your 5km limit. This may result in you visiting waterways that are unfamiliar to you, therefore encourage friends and family to stay away from edges.
- If you plan on swimming, the waterway within your 5km limit may not be lifeguarded. Ensure that it is a designated bathing area that is known locally to be traditionally safe and that it has ringbuoys present. Practice social distancing when in, on or near the water.
- If you do have a Lifeguarded waterway nearby, swim between the red and yellow flags so that you are within the Lifeguard’s patrol zone. A red flag means that a Lifeguard has decided that it is unsafe to swim. If there is no flag, it means that there is no lifeguard on duty.
- Lifeguards are operating on weekends in June and fulltime in July and August. There is a list of lifeguarded waterways on www.watersafety.ie but check with your local authority in case of changes to beach opening times.
- Warm air temperature does not mean that the water is warm. It is still too cold for extended swims and doing so places you at risk of hypothermia. Wear a wetsuit.
- Swim with a friend or with family, in case emergency services need to be called.
- Swim and Go – enjoy your swim but leave the area soon afterwards so that others may enjoy the water while complying with the need to social distance. If a beach is busy, wait until you can practise social distancing or take a walk or go to another safe beach nearby. Do not be tempted to swim in areas that you cannot confirm to be safe. There may be dangerous currents and hidden depths that may take you out of your comfort zone.
- Do not overestimate your ability or underestimate the risks. The same dangers that were present before Covid-19 are still present so please swim within your depth and stay within your depth.
- Supervise children closely.
- Always wear a lifejacket when on or near water and when angling from shore. Ensure that it is properly maintained and has a correctly fitted crotch strap.
- Those going afloat should carry a portable Marine VHF and/or a personal locator beacon and walkers should carry a mobile phone.
- In an emergency call 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.
The Government has been warned of the risks of an increase in drownings in the next few weeks during an easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
Water Safety Ireland chief executive John Leech has expressed concern about the risks if weather is good before lifeguards are in place on beaches, and when water temperatures are still relatively low.
There is also some concern among commercial providers of outdoor adventure activities about the timing of safe resumption.
“Cold-water shock is a serious risk for people who have not been swimming on the sea or inland since last summer, and who haven’t been able to access a swimming pool,” Mr Leech said, pointing out that almost two million people living within 5km of the coastline, and many others live close to rivers and lakes.
“The last thing we want is to restrict people, but we are going to have the greatest number on the water in our history over the next few weeks, as they cannot go abroad and many have lost their jobs,” he said.
The Government has sanctioned re-opening of “outdoor public amenities and tourism sites, such as car parks, beaches and mountain walks” as part of phase one from Monday.
The Irish Coast Guard has also lifted its advisory on staying off the water and thanked the public for its co-operation, but cautioning that “the current 2x5 rule, as in two-metre physical distance and five km travel distance” remains in place.
Marinas, sailing and kayaking clubs are re-opening under advice issued by national sport governing bodies including the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) and Canoeing Ireland in line with Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Covid-19 guidelines.
Activities such as kayaking in groups of up to four are being advertised as and from Monday by several providers, including Inish Adventures in Moville, Co Donegal.
“We are restricting to groups of four, all equipment will be sanitised, there will be social distancing and we are staying within the two loughs of Swilly and Foyle,” Adrian Harkin of Inish Adventures said. “We have received approval from our local Irish Coast Guard and from Canoeing Ireland.”
Mr Harkin said that he had erected marquees and outdoor showers as part of his preparation.
“I’ve never had so many inquiries from people to buy kayaks, and to be honest I’d prefer to see them going out with qualified instructors rather than taking risks on their own,” he said.
Canoeing Ireland chief executive Moira Aston said it has published return to sport protocols for its members and clubs.
“While we don’t have a regulatory function in relation to the commercial sector, we sincerely hope that everyone behaves responsibly, observes all guidelines, legislation and safety protocols and allows for further easing of restrictions,” she said.
She said she was aware that commercial operators had drawn up their own procedures which appeared to be in line with HSE guidelines. Canoeing Ireland would “not endorse any individual or organisation operating outside of our protocols”, she stressed.
“Kayaking is in a great position to be out there, but we are dipping our toe in the water,” she said.
In Galway, harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan confirmed public slipways and the marina would re-open under the guidelines, with a medical disclaimer required for use of the crane in launching craft.
The Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI have called on the public to pay particular attention to their personal safety when engaging in any water-based or coastal activities over the Christmas and New Year period. The two organisations have also issued a joint thank you to their nationwide search and rescue teams for their work during the past twelve months and paid tribute to the men and women who keep our waters and coastal areas safe.
Christmas/New Year Swims:
Swimming in open water is very different to swimming in a pool. Unseen currents, cold water and waves make open water swimming more challenging. Even the strongest swimmers can tire quickly in the sea.
- Never swim alone. Always try and take part in an organised swim with safety cover nearby.
- Consider wearing a wetsuit and bright coloured hat for longer swims.
- Check weather and tide times before you set out.
- Always swim parallel to the shore and not straight out. Cold water and currents can tire you out quickly and make it harder to return to shore.
- Never swim under the influence of alcohol
- If you see some in trouble, or think they are in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard
For coastal walkers:
Stay Back – Stay High – Stay Dry; when engaged in coastal walks and avoid any unfamiliar routes and be mindful of changes caused by coastal erosion and the risk of trip, slips and falls.
Ensure that pets are kept under control in case they get into difficulty and cause owners to risk their own safety in attempting to rescue them.
For leisure boaters or small fishing boat operators:
- Remember to carry a suitable means to call for help such as mobile phone, vhf radio or Personal Locator beacon
- If engaged in any boating activities wear an appropriate personal flotation device – it could save a life.
- Before proceeding, tell someone ashore your plans and what time you expect to be back.
- Always check the weather and take heed of any warnings.
Irish Coast Guard Head of Operation, Gerard O’Flynn said, ‘As we move past the shortest day of the year, everybody looks forward to getting out and about. Please be safety conscious, plan your activity carefully and always advise friends and colleagues of your plans and intentions. Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Centres at Malin, Valentia and Dublin will be fully staffed over the Christmas period as will our day and night Helicopter Search and Rescue services.’ He reiterated his thanks to volunteer members of the RNLI and Coast Guard who will continue to be available to respond over the holiday period.
RNLI Lifesaving Manager Sean Dillon added, ‘This Christmas and New Year we will have over 1,500 lifeboat volunteers ready to drop everything if a call for help comes in. There are many people who are spending Christmas with loved ones this year thanks to the actions of RNLI and Coast Guard crews and for that we are grateful to the men and women who give their time to keep people safe on the water. However, we know that not everyone can be saved, and our lifeboat crews are as busy as ever. Following simple safety advice before you set out can prevent a tragedy and give you valuable time to wait for help, if it is needed.’
Water Safety Ireland has urged organising Charity swims on Christmas Day, St. Stephen’s Day or New Year’s Day to ensure that they provide comprehensive details of each event to the Irish Coast Guard and local Gardaí.
Each event should have a Safety Officer appointed, who will advise those concerned on safety and have the ultimate responsibility for making decisions in relation to the swim being on or off on the day.
If the seas are rough and weather deteriorates, they should defer the event to a more suitable day without question – if in doubt do not take a chance on running the event.
Many participants will not have swum since the summer and the temperature of the water has now dropped considerably. It is a fallacy that alcohol will keep you warm when entering the water; in fact it has the reverse effect and could kill you. No alcohol should be taken before or after the swim.
Cold water can cause cold shock and hypothermia in minutes, because the temperature of the water at this time of year will be below 6° Celsius in Fresh Water and 11° Celsius in Seawater.
Ensure that you have safe access and egress with appropriate shallow shelving beaches, steps, slipway or ladders as appropriate. Elderly people should be mindful that steps leading into the water might be dangerous due to the increased growth of algae in wintertime. Organisers must ensure that they have had the access and egress cleaned in advance of the swim to avoid slips and falls.
Fancy dress outfits can seriously impair your ability to float – please do not wear when swimming.
Swimmers’ remaining in the water for extended periods in a gesture of bravado is not acceptable and leads to hypothermia. Our message is “Get In, Get Out and Warm Up”.
Furthermore, thousands of people are at risk when walking by rivers, lakes and shorelines. Others are lulled into a false sense of security when visiting relatives living close to water hazards such as slurry pits, ponds, exposed drains and canals.
Charity Swim guidelines:
- People organising these swims on Christmas Day, St. Stephen’s Day or New Year’s Day should ensure that they provide comprehensive details of each event to the Irish Coast Guard and local Gardaí.
- Each event should have a Safety Officer appointed, who will advise those concerned on safety and have the ultimate responsibility for making decisions in relation to the swim being on or off on the day.
- If the seas are rough and weather deteriorates, they should defer the event to a more suitable day without question – if in doubt do not take a chance on running the event.
- Many participants will not have swum since the summer and the temperature of the water has now dropped considerably. It is a fallacy that alcohol will keep you warm when entering the water; in fact it has the reverse effect and could kill you. No alcohol should be taken before or after the swim.
- Cold water can cause cold shock and hypothermia in minutes, because the temperature of the water at this time of year will be below 6° Celsius in Fresh Water and 11° Celsius in Seawater.
- Ensure that you have safe access and egress with appropriate shallow shelving beaches, steps, slipway or ladders as appropriate. Elderly people should be mindful that steps leading into the water might be dangerous due to the increased growth of algae in wintertime. Organisers must ensure that they have had the access and egress cleaned in advance of the swim to avoid slips and falls.
- Fancy dress outfits can seriously impair your ability to float – please do not wear when swimming.
- Swimmers’ remaining in the water for extended periods in a gesture of bravado is not acceptable and leads to hypothermia. Our message is “Get In, Get Out and Warm Up”.
I have no hesitation in saying that I detest those who vandalise public lifebuoys. Prosecuting and convicting such people, because their actions endanger life is, without question, absolutely necessary, but new legislation to make it easier for Gardai to do so and which would provide for a five-year jail sentence for those convicted has been held up in the Dáil for two years.
It is hard to understand why.
"Harbour Authorities spend €50,000 a year to replace an estimated 1,500 that are stolen or vandalised"
This equipment is a major part of the National Drowning Prevention Strategy. Local and Harbour Authorities provide ring buoys in yellow boxes but are having to spend €50,000 a year to replace an estimated 1,500 that are stolen or vandalised. Dublin City Council had to replace 500 last year at a cost of €20,000.
Cities, towns and urban areas are generally the locations where vandalism and theft are worst
Water Safety Ireland is working with Dublin Smart Docklands on a technological solution for the problem, according to the Chief Executive of Water Safety, John Leech.
• He discussed the problem on the Podcast below
Inland Fisheries Ireland has acknowledged members of Fisheries Officers Stephen Kiely, Sean Cremin and Tom O’Riordan for their brave and combined valiant efforts in saving a life when they came across a person in difficulty during a routine fisheries patrol operation. The Fisheries Officers from Cork won SEIKO Just in Time Rescue Awards at this week's Water Safety Awards in Dublin, as reported previously by Afloat.
Sean assisted Stephen with the rescue by contacting the emergency services and directing them to the incident and Tom assisted Stephen by giving first aid and CPR instructions over the phone. Stephen has Swift-Water training, which helped him to assess the situation. These staff members conducted themselves with a sense of civic duty and their actions on the day saved of a life.
The awards ceremony took place in O’Reilly Hall, University College Dublin on Tuesday the 26th of November.
The 22°C warm weather forecast for the bank holiday weekend increases the risk of drownings as warmer air temperatures can tempt people to go swimming in waters that are still cold (10°C coastal, 8°C inland) says Water Safety Ireland. Survival time is greatly reduced for someone immersed in cold water which drains body heat much faster than cold air.
The dangers of cold water immersion
When cold water makes contact with your skin, the cold shock response causes an immediate loss of breathing control, possible dizziness and panic. This dramatically increases the risk of sudden drowning even if the water is calm and you know how to swim.
For those who survive this but are unable to get out of the water, progressive body cooling leads to hypothermia and muscle cooling, making swimming more difficult or impossible. Children cool even faster than adults because they are smaller and have less fat.
What to do if you fall into cold water
Avoid swimming, stay calm and relax. Float or tread water and if possible get as much of your body out of the water because you will always cool faster in water than in air.
Wearing a lifejacket with a crotch strap will enable you to lessen heat escape by keeping your legs together and elbows by your side.
The dangers of a full moon on Good Friday 19th April
A full moon on Good Friday will cause spring tides. Strong rip currents will create a higher risk than usual for swimmers. The tidal streams will run very strong, posing a risk to those boating, angling, yachting, canoeing and any other water-related activities. Stranding will also be a risk for many walkers as the lower tide will expose even greater areas of the coastline. Parents should be particularly alert to providing constant uninterrupted supervision as Lifeguards will not be on duty at local authority beaches over the Easter weekend.
Those going afloat should carry a portable Marine VHF and/or a personal locator beacon and walkers should carry a mobile phone to call 112 in an emergency.
If you have not used your lifejacket or buoyancy aid since last year then you will need to carry out the following checks.
Ensure CO2 Cartridges have not been punctured and are firmly secured
Ensure all zips, buckles, fasteners and webbing straps are functioning correctly
Check that fitted lights are operating correctly
Check that the valve or lifejacket is not leaking by inflating the lifejacket overnight or immersing it in water checking for air bubbles
Always use your crotch strap when fitting your lifejacket
Detailed information on PFD’s here
Discard any faulty lifejackets by destroying them
Irish Water Safety is concerned that many people planning to take part in sponsored Christmas and New Year swims may take chances beyond what is acceptably safe and are cautioning the public to minimize the length of time they remain in water due to the risk of hypothermia as water temperature is approximately 11° Celsius at sea and 5° Celsius in freshwater.
“Cold water immersion” and hypothermia can overwhelm the fittest of swimmers but steps can be taken to remain safe:
· Cold water cools muscles faster than during warmer summer swims and may cause an increased heart rate, dizziness, cramp and panic.
· Take great care walking down slipways, jetties, piers and over rocks as they may be slippery and cause you to fall.
· Swimmers should “Get In, Get Out and Warm Up”, avoiding extended periods of exposure.
· Before entering the water throw some water down the back of your neck to allow your body prepare for cold water immersion.
· Alcohol should be avoided before swimming as it impairs judgment and increases the risk of cold water immersion and hypothermia.
· Ensure that you have safe access and egress with appropriate shallow shelving, steps or ladders. Less agile people should be mindful that steps leading into the water might be dangerous due to the possible growth of algae. Organisers should ensure that slipways or steps have been cleaned of slime, weed and algae.
· Christmas Swim organisers should ensure that they provide comprehensive details of each event to the Irish Coast Guard and local Gardai.
· Ensure that you have lifeguards for the event and adequate safety cover depending on numbers in regard to rescue boards, kayaks, surf skis and safety boats.
· Check with the Safety Officer, who will advise and has the ultimate responsibility for making decisions.
· If the seas are rough and weather deteriorates, wait for a more suitable day to support your charity commitment.
On average, 127 people drown every year, eleven every month. Safeguarding your loved ones extends beyond Christmas and New Year swims to family walks by rivers, lakes and shorelines. A full moon on December 22nd and a new moon on January 6th will increase the risk of stranding on our coastline due to the strong spring tides.
At inland water sites, parents can be lulled into a false sense of security when visiting areas close to water hazards such as slurry pits, exposed drains, rivers and canals. Safeguard your children with constant uninterrupted supervision and make a New Year’s resolution to learn swimming and lifesaving skills and to always wear a lifejacket on water.
ADDITIONAL CHRISTMAS WATER SAFETY ADVICE - Flooding & Ice:
1. LISTEN TO THE NATIONAL AND LOCAL RADIO FOR MET EIREANN UPDATES.
2. CHECK ON NEIGHBOURS PARTICULARLY IF THEY ARE ELDERLY, INFIRMED OR FAMILIES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN.
3. MOVE YOUR VEHICLES TO HIGHER GROUND.
4. CHECK YOUR SMALL CRAFT TO ENSURE IT IS WELL SECURED OR MOORED.
5. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE WARM CLOTHES, FOOD, DRINK, A TORCH AND RADIO.
6. BLOCK DOORWAYS AND AIRBRICKS WITH SANDBAGS OR PLASTIC BAGS FILLED WITH EARTH. FLOODGATE PRODUCTS WILL ALSO WORK EFFECTIVELY.
7. SWITCH OFF GAS AND ELECTRICITY SUPPLIES IF FLOODING IS IMMINENT.
8. CHECK THE TIME OF HIGH WATER IN THE NEWSPAPER.
9. NEVER TRY TO SWIM THROUGH FAST FLOWING WATER.
10. CARRY A MOBILE PHONE AT ALL TIMES – CALL 112 IN EMERGENCY.
11. WEAR SUITABLE PROTECTIVE CLOTHING & A LIFEJACKET IN ON OR AROUND WATER.
12. NEVER PUT YOUR FEET DOWN IF SWEPT AWAY.
13. FLOODING ON ROADS WILL BE DEEPER AT DIPS AND AROUND BRIDGES.
14. MANHOLE COVERS MAY HAVE BEEN MOVED DUE TO THE HEAVY FLOW OF WATER.
15. THE DANGERS ARE MULTIPLIED DURING THE HOURS OF DARKNESS.
1. RESCUING ANOTHER PERSON FROM ICE CAN BE DANGEROUS. THE SAFEST WAY TO PERFORM A RESCUE IS FROM SHORE. USE YOUR MOBILE.
2. CALL FOR HELP AT 999 OR 112 AND ASK FOR THE EMERGENCY SERVICES. GIVE YOUR PRECISE LOCATION, THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN DIFFICULTY AND ANY CONSPICUOUS BUILDING OR LANDMARK NEARBY.
3. CHECK IF YOU CAN REACH THE PERSON USING A RINGBUOY AND ROPE, LONG POLE, ITEMS OF CLOTHING OR BRANCH FROM SHORE – IF SO, LIE DOWN AND EXTEND THE POLE TO THE PERSON.
4. IF YOU CAN NOT REACH THEM THEN PASS OUT SOMETHING THAT WILL FLOAT E.G. A RINGBUOY, EMPTY WATER PROOF CONTAINER E.G. OIL, MILK CONTAINERS.
5. INSTRUCT THE CASUALTY TO KEEP STILL TO MAINTAIN THEIR HEAT AND ENERGY;
6. IF YOU GO ONTO ICE, WEAR A PFD AND CARRY A LONG POLE OR BRANCH TO TEST THE ICE IN FRONT OF YOU. BRING SOMETHING TO REACH OR THROW TO THE PERSON (E.G. POLE, WEIGHTED ROPE, LINE OR TREE BRANCH).
7. WHEN NEAR THE BREAK, LIE DOWN TO DISTRIBUTE YOUR WEIGHT AND SLOWLY CRAWL TOWARD THE HOLE.
8. REMAINING LOW, EXTEND OR THROW YOUR EMERGENCY RESCUE DEVICE (POLE, ROPE, LINE OR BRANCH) TO THE PERSON.
9. HAVE THE PERSON KICK WHILE YOU PULL THEM OUT.
10. MOVE THE PERSON TO A SAFE POSITION ON SHORE OR WHERE YOU ARE SURE THE ICE IS THICK.
11. ALL CASUALTIES SHOULD BE TAKEN TO HOSPITAL EVEN IF THEY APPEAR TO BE UNAFFECTED BY THEIR ORDEAL AS THEY WILL BE SUFFERING FROM HYPOTHERMIA.
12. NEVER GO OUT ON ICE ALONE AND ESPECIALLY AT NIGHT.
1. CALL FOR HELP.
2. RESIST THE IMMEDIATE URGE TO CLIMB BACK OUT WHERE YOU FELL IN. THE ICE IS WEAK IN THIS AREA.
3. USE THE AIR TRAPPED IN YOUR CLOTHING TO GET INTO A FLOATING POSITION ON YOUR STOMACH.
4. REACH FORWARD ONTO THE BROKEN ICE WITHOUT PUSHING DOWN. KICK YOUR LEGS TO PUSH YOUR TORSO ON THE ICE.
5. WHEN YOU ARE BACK ON THE ICE, CRAWL ON YOUR STOMACH OR ROLL AWAY FROM THE OPEN AREA WITH YOUR ARMS AND LEGS SPREAD OUT AS FAR AS POSSIBLE TO EVENLY DISTRIBUTE YOUR BODY WEIGHT. DO NOT STAND UP! LOOK FOR SHORE AND MAKE SURE YOU ARE GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.
Ice Rescue Tips:
1. AVOID GOING OUT ON ICE AND DISCOURAGE OTHERS FROM DOING SO.
2. CARRY YOUR MOBILE - CALL FOR ASSISTANCE FROM THE EMERGENCY SERVICES.
3. DO NOT ATTEMPT A RESCUE BY GOING ONTO ICE, RATHER USE ANY
4. INSTRUCT THE CASUALTY TO KEEP STILL THEREBY MAINTAINING THEIR HEAT AND ENERGY.
5. TRY TO FIND SOMETHING CLOSE BY THAT WILL EXTEND YOUR REACH SUCH AS A RINGBUOY, ROPE, POLE, BRANCH OR ITEMS OF CLOTHING. THROW THIS TO THE CASUALTY. THEN MAKE SURE YOU ARE STABLE ON THE BANK BY LYING DOWN OR GETTING SOMEONE TO HOLD ONTO YOU AND ATTEMPT TO PULL THE CASUALTY FROM THE WATER.
6. IF YOU CANNOT FIND SOMETHING WITH WHICH TO PERFORM A REACH OR THROW RESCUE,
TRY TO FIND SOMETHING THAT WILL FLOAT TO THROW OR PUSH OUT TO THEM. THIS WILL HELP KEEP THE CASUALTY AFLOAT UNTIL ASSISTANCE ARRIVES.
7. THROUGHOUT YOUR RESCUE KEEP OFF THE ICE, AND CONTINUE TO REASSURE THE CASUALTY, KEEPING THEM TALKING UNTIL HELP ARRIVES.
8. ALL CASUALTIES SHOULD BE TAKEN TO HOSPITAL EVEN IF THEY APPEAR TO BE UNAFFECTED BY THEIR ORDEAL AS THEY WILL BE SUFFERING FROM HYPOTHERMIA.
Ireland’s top Junior Lifesavers have won 20 gold medals, 16 silver medals and eight bronze medals at the European Junior Lifesaving Championships. Ireland placed second in Europe in the beach competitions and 5th in the overall combined pool and beach competitions.
The European Junior Lifesaving Championships was held in Ireland this year. The pool events took place in the UL Sport Arena from the 11th - 12th of September and the beach events took place at Kilkee Beach from the 13th - 15th of September.
Medal Winners Were:
● Aisling Barry, Tara McEvoy, Sean Slattery and Noel Shannon won Gold in the Simulated Emergency Response Competition (SERC).
● Aisling Barry and Tara McEvoy won Gold in the Line Throw.
● Amy O’Brien and Emma Kristiansen won Gold in the Board Rescue Relay.
● Aisling Barry, Aoife Madigan, Emma Kristiansen and Sarah Morrisson won Gold in the Beach Relay
● Callum Holding, Ryan Cotter, Sean Slattery and Turlough Barrett also won Gold in the Beach Relay
● Ryan Cotter, Sarah Morrison, Tara McEvoy and Turlough Barrett won Gold in the Lifesaver Relay.
● Dylan O’Brien, Noel Shannon, Ryan Cotter and Sean Slattery won Silver in the Rescue Tube Relay.
● Dylan O’Brien and Turlough Barrett won Silver in the Board Rescue Relay.
● Sarah Morrisson won Silver in the Beach Sprints.
● Amy O’Brien won Silver in the Ocean Woman.
● Amy O’Brien, Aoife Madigan, Emma Kristiansen and Sarah Morrisson won Silver in the Ocean Woman Relay.
● Callum Holding, Dylan O’Brien, Ryan Cotter and Turlough Barret won Silver in the Ocean Man Relay.
● Callum Holding, Dylan O’Brien, Noel Shannon and Ryan Cotter won Bronze in the 200m Medley Relay.
● Ryan Cotter won Bronze in the Ski Race.
● Dylan O’Brien won Bronze in the Surf Race.
● Amy O’Brien won Bronze in the Open Water Swim.
● Turlough Barrett won Bronze in the Board Race.
“We all worked really well together as a team and we’re so happy that we did so well on home turf, the atmosphere was amazing!”, said competitor Amy O’Brien who won 2 team medals and 2 individual medals. “I’m delighted to be going home with 4 medals, especially the Silver in the Ocean Woman Competition”.
“The best performance ever by an Irish team at an international competition”, said Triona McMenamin, Ireland Coach. “The athletes train so hard all year round and it was so great to have the competition on home ground this year and topping it off with 44 medals is amazing. We are so proud of them!”.
The championships simulate real-life rescue situations that Lifeguards can expect to encounter and pits 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 European Junior Lifesaving Championships is an annual event open to those aged 18 and under and it’s organised 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. It has 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.
Junior lifesaving competitors typically become top Lifeguards, patrolling beaches and pools in Ireland and abroad. It is a special sport such that it gives so much back to the community.
In the UK, 13 people, who drowned in 2017, might be alive today had they been wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid. These are the findings of this year’s UK Casualty Review Panel.
The panel meets annually to discuss the previous year’s appropriate maritime fatalities and whether those who died might have survived had they been wearing a lifejacket. Wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid appropriate to your activity greatly improves your chances of surviving the shock of entering cold water. The panel also advises on other measures which might increase survivability. This year they looked at 27 fatalities and of these 13 might have been saved had they been wearing a lifejacket.
In 2017 14 of the 27 fatalities had been drinking – accessing boats in harbour was a particular issue
People who have been drinking alcohol are more likely to be involved in a fatal accident. In 2017 14 of the 27 fatalities had been drinking – accessing boats in harbour was a particular issue. Over recent years many harbours have introduced lifejacket lockers so people using tenders can store lifejackets securely while they are ashore, and the panel strongly recommended that boat users consider using them.
Carrying a means of raising the alarm and knowing how and when to use it is vital in an emergency, making a real difference in survivability rates. In 2017, two people’s lives might have been saved had they been carrying a means of communication, to tell the Coastguard where to search. In particular, the panel recommended
- Carrying a VHF DSC radio and knowing how to use it to contact the Coastguard or other vessels
- Carrying a PLB or EPIRB will help rescuers to locate you and even if you’re unconscious the alarm will be raised.
- Downloading the RYA SafeTrx app on your phone and using it in an emergency could make all the difference.
The Casualty Review Panel comprises representatives from: Angling Trust, RNLI, Royal Yachting Association, Marine Accident Investigation Branch, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, National Water Safety Forum, British Canoe Union, the lifejacket industry, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and University of Portsmouth. The panel uses data supplied from Coastguard and MAIB databases and therefore covers mostly coastal incidents. Other inland fatal angling incidents, where a life jacket might have saved a life may have occurred during 2017 but these are not included for this exercise.