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Displaying items by tag: water safety

#Flares - Distress flares have outlived their usefulness in an age of modern water safety technology, says the Royal Yachting Association - which is urging British authorities to drop the requirement for flares on yachts larger than 13.7 metres.

On her Yachting World blog, Elaine Bunting highlights quotes from the RYA's cruising manager Stuart Carruthers who argues that the need for flares is negated by "EPIRBs, personal locator beacons, and VHF DSC that will do the job automatically".

He adds: "If you are not carrying another electronic device [aside from flares] then you'd be barking mad, because that's the way the management of search and rescue has gone."

Carruthers also points out that an omnidirectional laser flare works out as better value than an offshore flare pack, and performs a better job of helping to pinpoint your location in a rescue effort.

The RYA is now pushing for the UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to review its safety requirements for craft over 13.7m, which make compulsory the carriage of parachute flares - which are illegal if the operator has not undergone training, though there is currently no training available for yachtsmen.

Yachting World has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Water Safety
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#watersafety – Water-related tragedies can happen in seconds and in the wake of 147 drownings last year, Irish Water Safety is drawing attention to the dangers that will put people's lives at risk this coming Bank Holiday weekend.

Wet, windy weather with spot-flooding will make aquatic activities and family bank holiday walks near water hazardous meaning people need to note the following basic measures that if heeded, will avoid needless tragedies this weekend.

A danger foreseen is a danger avoided...

Walkers should remain alert and stay well away from the edge of ordinarily familiar waterside pathways due to the risk of riverbanks crumbling away. These walks will be all the more hazardous due to windy with conditions and likely spot flooding. Please carry your mobile phone and remain in the company of others.

Alcohol should be avoided before or during any aquatic activity. Over 30% of drowning victims had consumed alcohol therefore it is best left until after your activity to celebrate this bank holiday weekend.

Those on water should ensure that their family and friends wear a PFD (Personal Flotation Device) at all times.

Supervise children at all times - it only takes seconds for tragedy to strike an unsupervised child. On wet weekend days, prompt children in your care to learn water safety in a fun way at www.aquaattack.ie.

Anglers will be at risk and foreign nationals in particular should be extremely vigilant as the Atlantic coastline is dramatically different to that experienced on the relatively calmer Baltic Sea. Never fish without your PFD and stay well away from the edge, particularly in windy conditions.

Remember your lifeline in an emergency is 112 therefore carry a mobile phone and ask for the coastguard at the first sign of difficulties.

Published in Marine Warning
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#WaterSafety - A lifejacket that turns into a wetsuit and a special harness that keeps lifejacket wearers upright in the water are in contention for a top innovation prize, as Yachting Monthly reports.

The Hydros personal flotation device (PFD), by Irish designer Kieran Nomroyle, and the TeamO Back Pull lifejacket harness are both in the running for the James Dyson Award - and the £30,000 (€37,800) cheque that comes with it - which is set to be announced on 7 November.

Design graduate Nomroyle explains that his invention was inspired by his role as a lifeguard and medic with the Irish Army Reserve, and he developed Hydros as a solution to the problem of hypothermia for his final year college project.

The TeamO, meanwhile, was developed by solo sailor Oscar Mead from Southampton and attempts to fix a "design flaw" in tethered lifejackets that causes wearers to be dragged through the water face-down.

Yachting Monthly has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Water Safety
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#watersafety – The number of people accidentally drowning in the UK has dropped by nearly nine per cent in a year to 371 deaths in 2012, latest figures reveal.

More than half of deaths from accidents or natural causes continued to be in inland waters, such as rivers, lakes and reservoirs(203), while drowning at the coast or in a harbour, dock, marina or port accounted for a third (124), according to new data from the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF).

The NWSF's Water Incident Database (WAID), which breaks down drownings by activity, age and location type, reveals that more than a fifth of fatalities (84) were in the 50-65 age group, many while involved in activities such as sub aqua diving, swimming and angling.

Meanwhile, the under-19s accounted for 12 per cent of deaths (43), of which more than half were teenagers aged 15 to 19 (25) who predominantly got into difficulties in rivers or at the coast or beach. In the youngest age bracket of four and under, seven children drowned, two while in a bath.

Figures are revealed ahead of the National Water Safety Seminar, hosted by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), which takes place at The Lowry, Salford Quays, on Thursday (October 17).

David Walker, a member of the NWSF and RoSPA's leisure safety manager, said: "While the figures for 2012 are encouraging, we mustn't get complacent, especially given the prolonged heatwave we had this year.

"There's much more that could be done to save lives and improve water safety. That's why the main focus of the National Water Safety Seminar will be to create a consensus for a national drowning prevention strategy in order to further reduce the number of deaths."

Professionals covering sea, beach, inland, swimming pool and watersports safety including from the Royal Life Saving Society UK, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and the Amateur Swimming Association will use the seminar to discuss how best to tackle key issues, such as increasing the number of schoolchildren who can swim the minimum requirement of 25m.

In 2011, 407 people drowned from accidents or natural causes in the UK, with 219 of these (54 per cent) at inland waters. In this year, water-related deaths for children and young people up to the age of 19 reached 47 and nearly half of these - 22 deaths - were in the 15 to 19 age group, and predominantly in a river or lake.

Published in Water Safety
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#WaterSafety - The RNLI has posted the above video outlining what kayakers can do to call for help if they get into difficulty on the water.

Taking a whistle along for the trip is one sensible idea, as is ensuring a means of longer-range communication such as a VHF radio or a mobile phone in a dry case.

Carrying a flare may also prove handy, and there's always that old standby if other water users are within earshot - shouting as loud as you can to attract attention.

Published in Water Safety

#watersafety – Irish Water Safety is appealing to the public to stay safe for the remainder of the summer. John Leech, CEO of IWS is pleading with the public to be careful when you go swimming for the remainder of the summer. We have already lost too many people this year to drowning. The forecast is promising for the remainder of the traditional bathing season. Please follow the following simple steps to keep you and your family safe:

Swim at Lifeguarded waterways - http://www.iws.ie/bathing-areas-page.html;
If there is no Lifeguarded waterway nearby then swim at a recognized, traditional bathing area.
Swim within your depth - stay within your depth;
Supervise children at all times until you are in your car driving home;
Use local knowledge to determine local hazards and safest areas to swim;
Ensure that ringbuoys are present where you swim;
Make sure that the edges are shallow shelving so that you can safely and easily enter and exit the water;
Only drink alcohol after your aquatic activity has ended. Stay Away From The Edge after you consume alcohol.
Never bring inflatable toys or floating killers to beaches, lakes or rivers
There was a full moon on Wednesday so beware of rip currents as they will be strong over the coming days.

The majority of drownings, 62%, occur inland where river and lake beds can be difficult to see and therefore extremely difficult to determine if you are swimming within your depth. The onset of cramp, combined with the panicked realisation that you are out of your depth can have tragic consequences and be compounded further by the muscle cooling effect of longer periods in open water. Bear in mind that in a recent analysis on drowning over the last 25 years we discovered that 32% of drowning victims had consumed alcohol so stay away from water when you have been drinking.

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 ringbuoy or any floating object and call 112 for the coast guard.

Published in Water Safety
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#watersafety – In Scotland, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has found Scottish local authorities have an inconsistent "ad hoc" approach to water safety despite a high rate of drownings.

A ground-breaking study by the UK's leading accident prevention charity, revealed today, found a "mixed picture" in terms of how Scotland's 32 local authorities address the issue.

There were 108 drownings in Scotland in 2011 – a quarter of the 407 deaths for the UK as a whole.

The report, entitled Local authority approaches to managing water safety in Scotland, is the first time that a UK study has considered to what extent local authorities are organised and focused upon addressing the burden of drowning and water-related accidents.

Findings reveal that less than half had a specific water safety policy in place, while just over a half did not have a specific person or group taking control of the issue.

Only a quarter of authorities said they had run a water safety information campaign in the past three years, although 64 per cent said they had provided information to key groups. While nearly 69 per cent of local authorities did not include water safety advice on their websites.

RoSPA is calling on Scottish local authorities to work together to share ideas, resources and good practice in order to move away from the current "ad hoc" approach to water safety and develop a uniform policy across the country.

Carlene McAvoy, community safety development officer for RoSPA Scotland, said: "Overall, the survey found a mixed picture, with much disparity and inconsistency in approaches. Several authorities were addressing water safety, but there was little in the way of uniformity or issues being addressed strategically.

"Worryingly, more than half said they did not have a specific person or group who took control of the issue. This study highlights that there needs to be a better understanding of water safety, greater sharing of resources, as well as much more information on good practice."

The drowning rate in Scotland among males has increased by between two and three times in relation to England, recent research funded with a RoSPA/BNFL Scholarship has found. Scottish and Welsh teenagers and young men aged 15-30 were identified as high risk groups.

The findings of the Scotland report will be presented at the RoSPA National Water Safety Seminar in October. The local authority approaches to managing water safety in Scotland report is available at www.rospa.com/leisuresafety/info/watersafety/approaches-to-managing-water-safety.pdf.

Published in Rescue
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#WaterSafety - Irish Water Safety has described cheap inflatable boats and rafts as "floating killers", as The Irish Times reports.

Water safety chiefs have urged the public to avoid using such inflatables on open water following last month's rescue of three children who drifted more than 30km out to sea from Cloughey Bay in Co Down.

Previously, two children were rescued at Ballybunion in Co Kerry after drifting out to sea on an inflatable toy.

Other incidents include a man carried out by the current on a rubber ring from White Rocks beach at Portrush, Co Antrim and three men who set out from Tramore, Co Waterford on a makeshift raft with no lifejackets or other safety gear.

The news comes just days after Irish Water Safety announced its lifeguards had rescued some 559 swimmers on Irish beaches during the recent heatwave.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Water Safety
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#MarineNotice - The latest Marine Notices from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) remind all mariners of the importance of safety at sea - both in seeking help and staying safe till help arrives.

Marine Notice No 38 of 2013 details guidelines for the care and maintenance of Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons or EPIRBs, which if installed correctly will automatically operate if a vessel capsizes, notifying the nearest emergency services of your location.

Meanwhile, Marine Notice No 39 of 2013 informs all owners, charterers, masters, skippers and crew of fishing and commercial vessels that correctly selected and worn lifejackets or personal flotation devices (PFDs) save lives.

Published in Water Safety

#WaterSafety - Herald.ie reports that a young cousin of rugby international Jonny Sexton was "shocked but recovering well" after she was knocked out in a diving accident last week.

Fourteen-year-old Kelly Sexton was diving with friends off a 50-foot ledge at Diamond Rocks in Kilkee, Co Clare to celebrate her birthday when she apparently struck the water at an angle that rendered her unconscious.

Thankfully her friends came to her aid immediately and cared for her until she was airlifted to University Hospital Limerick by the Shannon coastguard rescue helicopter.

The incident came on the last weekend of the nationwide heatwave that saw a shocking 10 drownings around the island of Ireland.

Published in Water Safety
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