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Minister Appeals for Public to Heed Water Safety Advice and ‘Do One Thing’ on World Drowning Prevention Day

25th July 2022
Swimmers wading into waves at a beach
Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton says we all have a role to play, be it on the water or on the coast, in practising some basic safety measures

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton has called on the public to follow water safety advice and to recognise the importance of adhering with some basic precautions in ensuring that any water-based recreation is enjoyed to its fullest.

"Too many people have suffered from the personal tragedy of lives lost owing to drowning accidents,” she said today on World Drowning Prevention Day, Monday 25 July. “We all have a role to play, be it on the water or on the coast, in practising some basic safety measures."

The minister has joined the Irish Coast Guard in appealing to the public to follow water safety advice and above all else to be attentive to their own personal safety.

The Irish Coast Guard is supporting this year’s campaign from Water Safety Ireland which asks the public to ‘Do One Thing’ such as: learn one water safety skill, share one piece of water safety advice, change one mind around water safety or be the one who takes responsibility for water safety.

“While 40% of our population live within 5km of the coast, the majority of drownings happen inland. Drownings often happen quickly and silently with 80% of drownings occurring within the home county of the victim,” the minister added.

"We are asking the public today to be aware of the importance of water safety, to educate themselves and their families and to ‘Do One Thing’, whether that’s learning a new water safety skill or sharing your knowledge with someone else. We can all play a role in highlighting drowning prevention.

“I want to thank all of our search and rescue services and in particular our volunteer members, including Irish Coast Guard volunteers, RNLI and Community Inshore Rescue Boats.

“So far this year, the coastguard has coordinated the response to 1,500 incidents including inland, coastal and offshore. As an example of this work, in a mission involving coastguard helicopters and an RNLI lifeboat, a lone yachtsman was recovered from an overturned yacht some 70 miles off the southwest coast.

“Coastguard and RNLI personnel have responded to several incidents involving people becoming isolated on coastal areas with which they were not familiar. Volunteer coastguard and RNLI units have been tasked to over 1,100 incidents so far this year. Remember all of these services, including our coastguard helicopter service, are on duty round the clock.”

The Irish Coast Guard has shared some water safety advice on World Drowning Prevention Day:

  • If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast, or think they are in trouble, dial 112 or use marine VHF Channel 16 and ask for the coastguard.
  • Inflatable toys pose a risk on any open waters be it on the beach, rivers, lakes or other inland waterways. There is a huge risk of being swept away from the shore or falling into the water. The advice is never bring them to the beach or near or on any open waters.
  • If you are engaging in boating activity always wear a fully serviced lifejacket or personal floatation device (PFD). Remember: no lifejacket, no excuse.
  • A special appeal to swimmers: only swim in areas that are supervised by lifeguards or in areas that you are familiar with. Always check weather and tides. Never swim alone and ensure that somebody ashore is monitoring your activity.

For more information on water safety, visit www.gov.ie/summerready and www.gov.ie/safetyonthewater. To find out about World Drowning Prevention Day and how you can raise awareness for drowning prevention, visit www.watersafety.ie.

Published in Water Safety
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