Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Complacency Puts Children at Risk This Weekend

29th April 2010
Complacency Puts Children at Risk This Weekend

Children are fascinated and attracted to water, it is critical that adults supervise children at all times around water, particularly children visiting farms where slurry tanks and open water is often unprotected.

On average, thirteen drownings occur in Ireland every month.  This tragic figure will decrease if the public is responsible, aware and educated on the risks around our aquatic environments.

The CEO of Irish Water Safety, John Leech, has today warned about the increased risk of water related accidents and tragedies this weekend as the number of people taking to activities in and around water will increase. Thousands of marine leisure enthusiasts will take to our waters this weekend to enjoy our unique waterways. Complacency has been a factor in many Bank Holiday drownings. The public must take steps, including wearing a lifejacket to avoid becoming a drowning statistic.

Swimming, diving, angling, canoeing, surfing, windsurfing and kite surfing are popular holiday activities, ensure that you are adequately trained to undertake them and don't over face yourself early in the season.

Water temperatures are still cold, 10°C on average around our coastline with freshwater being a few degrees cooler. The CEO cautions the public to respect the cold water temperatures and slightly below air temperatures over the weekend.

There has been a full moon on Wednesday so we shall experience declining spring tides over the weekend. The public should be aware of the following hazards:  

stranding caused by strong incoming tides;

stronger than normal tidal streams;

eddies and overfalls caused by wind against tide;

Alcohol is a contributory factor in almost 30% of drownings, therefore I ask the public not to drink near water this weekend.  

If you have not used your lifejacket or buoyancy since last year then you will need to carry out the following checks.

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

Ensure CO2 Cartridges have not been punctured

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

Discard any faulty lifejackets by destroying them

Detailed information on PFD's at

If you are in distress or in doubt of somebody's safety, then call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

For water safety information for children

To report missing ringbuoy's

For more information and details of water safety classes in your area log on to or LoCall Irish Water Safety on 1890 420 202.

Published in Water Safety Team

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