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Know The Drowning Risks To Stay Safe On The Water & Avoid Summer Tragedy

8th July 2018
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Children are especially vulnerable on or near the water - be sure they’re wearing a lifejacket on board Children are especially vulnerable on or near the water - be sure they’re wearing a lifejacket on board Photo: Waterways Ireland

#WaterSafety - Irish Water Safety, the Irish Coast Guard and RNLI have issued a joint appeal reminding the public to stay alert to the risk of drowning at all times and especially in the current hot weather.

On average, five people drown in Ireland every fortnight — and the risks increase during July and August, the most popular months for swimming and other water-based activities.

The joint appeal includes the following water safety advice to avoid summer tragedy:

  • Swim within your depth and stay within your depth. Never swim alone.
  • Wear a lifejacket or personal floatation device when on or near the water and make sure that it has a correctly fitting crotch strap. This applies when boating but equally to both experienced and once-off casual anglers fishing from shore.
  • Supervise children closely and never use inflatable toys in open water. The recent multiple rescue off Fethard is testament to the dangers of using inflatables where a sudden current can put lives under threat.
  • Swim at lifeguarded waterways listed by Irish Water Safety, or in areas that are known locally as safe and where there are ring buoys present to conduct a safe rescue.

 If you see someone in difficulty, these simple steps may save a life:

  • Shout to the casualty and encourage them to shore. This may orientate them just enough.
  • Reach out with a long object such a branch or a piece of clothing but do not enter the water yourself.
  • Throw a ring buoy or any floating object, call 112 and ask for the coastguard.

Waterways Ireland is also running a campaign with Irish Water Safety to encourage the wearing of lifejackets and personal flotation devices on the Shannon Navigation during the 2018 summer boating season.

The awareness campaign will aim to emphasise the importance of wearing lifejackets at key focal points along the Shannon.

You may notice some new signage which will be erected at key locations – locks and marinas — encouraging water safety. Information leaflets will also be distributed to water users at these key locations on the water.

Waterways Ireland encourages the safe use of its waterways by all. The wearing of lifejackets and personal flotation devices is not only an effective way of enhancing water safety, it is also a legal requirement on all pleasure craft in Ireland.

Published in Water Safety
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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