Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

National Water Safety Awareness Week Begins

30th May 2011
National Water Safety Awareness Week Begins
How long can you hold your breath in water? Breathing is easy until you fall overboard. Your lifejacket will be your lifeline, that's the message from Irish Water Safety in a message tailored for boaters at this week's start of National Water Safety Awareness week.

If you fall overboard, the key to surviving is being able to continue breathing until help arrives. If you are wearing a correctly fitting lifejacket you will stay afloat and breathing. If you are not wearing one and even if you have some swimming ability, you will probably drown, as you grow weaker due to the onset of hypothermia.

As part of National Water Safety Awareness Week (May 30th - June 6th), Irish Water Safety is pushing a new initiative in the hope of reducing the number of boating fatalities. As part of their "Be smart from the start" campaign, Irish Water Safety is pleading with the public to wear their life jacket on a small boat just as they would use a seatbelt in a car.

Carrying a lifejacket on board is simply not good enough. There is no excuse not to wear a life jacket on water, the best lifejacket being the one you will actually wear. Irish Water Safety has launched a new television campaign in the run up to the summer season that is working to convince recreational and commercial boaters to adopt safe practices, particularly the wearing of life jackets. The adverts can be viewed on the IWS website and on the IWS Facebook and YouTube pages.

Deaths on water are preventable. There are far too many situations in which lifejackets were not considered. Tragically this can often be as a result of not thinking about safety rather than a case of not wanting to do the right thing. Often life jackets sit on boats, unused which is a practice that has to end to save lives.

Here are just some of the tragic circumstances in which people have drowned as a result of not wearing a lifejacket.

-       Capsized in rough water.
-       Sinking in unexpectedly heavy sea conditions.
-       Thrown from the boat as a result of a collision.
-       Injured by rocks or submerged objects.
-       Tossed into cold water.
-       Thrown off balance while fishing.
-       Unable to swim because of heavy or waterlogged clothing.
-       Wearable lifejackets not readily accessible (locked away or stowed under other gear).
-       Not able to put them on quickly in an emergency (vessel sinking, on fire).

-       Detailed information on PFD's at

"BE SMART FROM THE START" - Always your lifejacket.

Published in Water Safety Team

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