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Displaying items by tag: Irish Water Safety

Spanish Point beach in Clare will be amongst the safest in Ireland this Saturday when 152 Lifeguards from nine counties test their skills at Irish Water Safety's National Beach Rescue Championships.

Simulated emergency rescue scenarios incorporating running, swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding race formats are designed to test their lifesaving skills.

These championships will see trained lifeguards compete in beach and open water events of this multifaceted sport which has Olympic Category 2 standing and is recognised by the World Sports Federation.

Irish Lifeguards won a record eighteen medals in August at the European Rescue Championships in Wales.

Competitions throughout the year see Lifeguards qualify as the top competitors in the country who now go head to head for the overall national title. The 152 competitors represent the best in a discipline in which 113,000 members of the public were certified to various levels by IWS last year.

The value of this training is reflected in the fact that 831 people were rescued from drowning by Lifeguards at Irish waterways last year.

"The sport of Lifesaving has been developed to improve the standard of lifeguarding in Ireland," commented Seamus O'Neill, chairman of Irish Water Safety's Sports Commission. "This gives us great confidence in the skills of our lifeguards on Ireland's beaches and waterways."

Published in Water Safety
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#trysailing – Galway Bay Sailing Club held the West of Ireland's first " Try Sailing " launching over the weekend, with up to 400 people getting on the water yesterday for the ISA's new initiative, which is part of an Access and Participation programme linked with Irish Water Safety to promote water safety and sailing.

Developed from a suggestion from Muriel Rumball of the Irish National Sailing School in Dun Laoghaire, the linkup with IWS allows promotion of the programme in schools, and the numbers involved showed the success of this approach.

Around 175 were complete beginners who had never before been on the water in Galway. And it was like the previous night 's Eurovision, with eleven different nationalities represented - our "new Irish" citizens are keen to get afloat.

The Day was co-ordinated by GBSC Public Relations Officer Phyllis Hayes, who organised up to 60 boats and nearly 220 members including juniors, parents, instructors and officers. Irish covered the day's events, which will be broadcast on 15th June , which is the first day the first day of IWS Water Safety Week. And there will be another Try Sailing initiative to round out the week on June 21st, Midsummer's Day.

Published in Galway Harbour

#WaterSafety - Irish Water Safety (IWS) has launched its new water safety website for primary school teachers, pupils and parents.

The site for IWS' Primary Aquatic Water Safety programme, or PAWS, combines clear, simple water safety messages with material for use in classrooms, as well as free certificates for children who complete the programme.

Though designed for delivery in primary schools, IWS says the resource can help generally to change the attitudes and behaviours of children playing in, on and near the water – whether by the sea, on the beach, by the river, canal or any body of water.

Noting that 30 children aged 14 and under drowned in the last decade, IWS hopes that teachers will set aside some class time for the new website before the summer holidays to help everyone respect the water and make 'Water Safety Fun'.

Visit the PAWS website HERE.

Published in Water Safety

#watersafety – International safety standards of water rescue, resuscitation and water safety will be discussed when Irish Water Safety hosts the board of International Life Saving Europe (ILSE) for an Extraordinary General Assembly, annual commission meetings and best practice seminar in Dublin on January 15th - 17th.

This is the first time that Ireland has ever hosted these meetings with just fewer than 100 delegates arriving from across Europe. Minister of State at the Departments of An Taoiseach and Defence, Paul Kehoe is due to welcome our European guests.

"The vast majority of drowning incidents and aquatic injuries are preventable", commented Minister Kehoe, "International Life Saving Europe, of which Irish Water Safety plays a key role, has assisted in making aquatic activities safer here in Ireland, throughout Europe and globally."

The International Lifesaving Federation (ILS) is the world authority for drowning prevention, lifesaving and lifesaving sport. ILS leads supports and collaborates with national and international organisations engaged in drowning prevention, water safety, water rescue, lifesaving, lifeguarding and lifesaving sport. Its headquarters are in Leuven in Belgium. The Presidency of the ILSE is currently with Germany which is the largest of all the European member federations.

ILS decentralises its affairs under the management of four Regional Branches. The Branches are established in and for Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe and are responsible for initiating, supervising and coordinating regional activities.

The Best Practice Seminar will take place on Friday 16th of January where a number of presentations and workshops on drowning prevention will take place from Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, Sweden and Norway. Subjects will include: No sharks in Swiss rivers, which is an educational programme for children; a family water safety pilot project in Norway; marketing as an educational tool and water safety awareness programmes.

Published in Water Safety
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#watersafety – Irish Water Safety is appealing to the public to take extreme care when taking part in sponsored swims. Participants can be distracted by the occasion and take chances beyond what is acceptably safe and can be left without sufficient strength to climb out of the water due to the cold. Cold winter waters can cause "cold shock" and hypothermia can set in within minutes, overwhelming the fittest of swimmers.
People organising Christmas swims should ensure that they provide comprehensive details of each event to the Irish Coast Guard and local Gardai.
Each event should have a Safety Officer appointed, who will advise those concerned on safety and have the ultimate responsibility for making decisions in relation to the swim being on or off on the day on the day dependent on weather and tidal conditions remembering that there is a new moon on the 22nd of December so there will be spring tides leading to strong tidal streams on Christmas day.
If the seas are rough and weather deteriorates, they should defer the event to a more suitable day without question and not take a chance on running the event.
Many participants will not have swum since the summer and the temperature of the water has now dropped from approximately 17°C to 10°C, therefore we advise inexperienced swimmers to wear a wetsuit.
It is a fallacy that alcohol will keep you warm when entering the water; in fact it has the reverse effect and could kill you. Irish Water Safety strongly recommends that no alcohol be taken either before the swim or after the swim and also remind people that they may be in breach of the drink driving laws when driving to or from the event.
Cold water can cause cold shock and hypothermia in minutes, because the temperature of the water at this time of year will be below 10°C. Christmas day charity swimmers occasionally remain too long in the water in a gesture of bravado and can find themselves left without sufficient strength to climb out of the water becoming unbalanced and disoriented due to them becoming hypothermic, two or three minutes is plenty of time in the water for the inexperienced. Remember shivering and teeth chattering are the first signs of Hypothermia.
Ensure that you have safe access and egress with appropriate shallow shelving or ladders as appropriate. People should be mindful that steps leading into the water might be dangerous due to the growth of algae..
Swimmers' remaining in the water for extended periods in a gesture of bravado is not acceptable. The message is "Get In, Get Out and Warm Up" and in the event of an emergency call the Coast Guard on 112.

Published in Water Safety

#RNLI - Two members of Castletownbere’s RNLI lifeboat crew were honoured at Irish Water Safety’s national award ceremony in Dublin Castle this week.

Lifeboat mechanic Martin O’Donoghue and crewmember and Garda Dave Fenton, together with his colleague Garda Caroline Guest, were among 35 people honoured at the ceremony on 18 November.

Irish Water Safety says the actions of these 35 people saved the lives of 22 people who got into difficulty. Last year there were 91 drownings in Ireland, the lowest since 1936.

On 4 May last at The Pier in Castletownbere, Gardaí Fenton and Guest were on patrol when they received a call that a man had fallen into the water.

They rushed to the scene where Garda Guest threw a lifebuoy to the man while Garda Fenton secured a rope ladder to the pier and climbed down into the water to the casualty. He managed to get the man to hold onto the ladder while using the ringbuoy as a buoyancy aid. 

Garda Guest telephoned O’Donoghue to assist them.

While Garda Guest reassured and waited with the casualty, Garda Fenton and O’Donoghue launched a boat and were able to get alongside the casualty and pull him out of the water.

They then brought him to safety and waited with him until emergency services arrived. The man subsequently made a full recovery.

Tony O’Sullivan, lifeboat operations manager at Castletownbere Lifeboat Station congratulated the award recipients, saying: "The comprehensive and rigorous training undertaken by crewmembers in the RNLI was most certainly a factor in this successful rescue."

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#watersafety – Irish Water Safety Life Savers continue to make great progress on the world stage, competing last month at Rescue 2014:  The World Life Saving Championships in Montpelier, France. 

Ten years ago at Rescue 04 Team Ireland were delighted to make some semi finals but at Rescue 2014 the Irish squad finished with 51 World medals, countless A and B finals and numerous Irish records to boot!

Teams from 34 nations competed to test their life saving skills in France. The sport is involves life saving skills thought in pools and beaches, and putting them in a race format to compete to be the best life saver.

In particular, Irish youths are ranked ninth in the world. You can read more about how the Irish got on in France here

Published in Water Safety

#watersafety – A unique Chain of Office was presented to the Chairman of Irish Water Safety (IWS), Breda Collins by the Kilkenny Water Safety Area Committee (WSAC) recently.

It was designed and made by Liam Costigan of Kilkenny. It is handmade from sterling silver and weighs half a Kilo. The Chain is constructed of thirty links shaped as Ringbuoys which represent the thirty voluntary WSAC's operating nationwide to promote water safety and the IWS logo is surrounded by a large ringbuoy beautifully engraved which represents the saving of life from drowning. The original logo for IWS which represents a swimmer was designed by Peter Donovan of Kilkenny Design workshop (KDW) in 1970 when the organisation was made independent from the Red Cross by the Government to bring a greater focus on water safety in Ireland.

Liam is an active Instructor of IWS in Kilkenny since 1978. He started his career as a silversmith in 1967 and worked in the Kilkenny Design Workshop until 1980 when he then established his own business.

Chairman Breda Collins who also hails from Kilkenny thanked the Kilkenny WSAC for their initiative in creating the Chain of office and for their generosity in sponsoring it. She congratulated Liam on producing this beautifully made handcraft which symbolizes the main service which IWS delivers to the public and to help reduce drowning.

With a promising forecast over the next few days the CEO of IWS, John Leech is reminding the public to stay within your depth when swimming in open water, don't consume alcohol near water and always wear your lifejacket when you go afloat.

Published in Water Safety

#lifeguards – Lifesaving teams from 17 counties competed on Sat 15th Feb 2014 in Irish Water Safety's National Irish Pool Lifesaving Championships. An action-filled day of events saw 240 of Ireland's fittest Lifesavers compete at the University of Limerick's 50-metre pool complex. This year over 100 teams entered from 17 counties around the country - both Ireland and Northern Ireland. Fifteen Irish National Records were broken; 11 new records from Junior age category (13-16) and 4 in Senarios (16+).

"This Annual competition gives the best Lifesavers in Ireland an opportunity to compete in conditions that Lifesavers can encounter in real-life rescue situations. The sport of lifesaving teaches participants the skills necessary to rescue people in distress in water," said Chairman of Irish Water Safety, Breda Collins.

"Many of the competitors, having worked as Lifeguards in pools nationwide, got their chance to pitch their skills against the finest lifesavers in the country," added Collins. "The events are varied and challenging with competitors swimming under immersed obstacles, rescuing "casualties" from the water and skillfully testing a variety of lifesaving skills in the process."

The National Championships are part of Irish Water Safety's (IWS) extensive programme to promote water safety in Ireland with a particular focus on the necessary skills required by pool Lifeguards nationwide. The Championships encourage people to enrol in one of IWS's many courses nationwide in the valuable skills of swimming, rescue and lifesaving. The event promotes the fitness and readiness for action of the lifesavers and demonstrates Lifeguard water rescues to the public.

Junior Boys: 1st Clare A; 2nd Wexford A; 3rd Sligo.
Junior Girls: 1st Clare A; 2nd Wexford A; 3rd Wicklow.
Senior Men: 1st Clare A; 2nd Waterford A; 3rd Sligo A.
Senior Ladies: 1st Clare A; 2nd Donegal A; 3rd Waterford.
Masters Men: 1st Sligo; 2nd Clare; 3rd Cork.
Masters Ladies: 1st Clare; 2nd Cork;3rd Wicklow.

NEW IRISH RECORDS (description of events below):
100m Manikin Tow with Fins (Boys) Rory McEvoy Clare 1.02.14
100m Manikin Tow with Fins (Girls) Lily Barrett Clare 1.10.47
200m Super Lifesaver (Girls) Lily Barrett Clare 2.44.80
100m Manikin Carry with Fins (Boys) Joseph Mooney Sligo 51.82
100m Manikin Carry with fins (Girls) Georgina Steele Wexford A 1.04.40
50m Manikin Carry (Womens) Lauren Hughes Union (Belfast) 43.18
50m Manikin Carry (Boys) Joseph Mooney Sligo 32.16
50m Manikin Carry (Girls) Georgina Steele Wexford A 40.47

4x25m Manikin Relay (Boys) Clare A 1.24.88
4x25m Manikin Relay (Girls) Clare A 1.31.73
4x25m Manikin Relay (Mens) Clare A 1.24.31

4x50m Medley Relay (Boys) Clare A 1.50.59
4x50m Medley Relay (Girls) Clare A 1.59.34
4x50m Medley Relay (Mens) Clare A 1.46.08
Line Throw (Womens) Wexford 13.13

Published in Rescue

#watersafety – Irish Water Safety is warning the public that to stay SAFE they must stay away from the edges of waterways during storm conditions that are even more dangerous due to heavy rain, strong gale force winds and high tides.
Fast rising flood water is very powerful and often hides the dangers of exposed drains, exposed manhole covers and submerged objects. No driver or pedestrian should take a chance passing through flooded roadways. Parents should caution children that small flooded streams are very fast and that floodwater hides true water depths.

What should I do when I hear a Flood Warning?
1. Listen to the national and local radio for met eireann updates. Click on for further information.
2. Check on neighbours particularly if they are elderly, infirmed or families with young children.
3. Move your vehicles to higher ground.
4. Move animal stock to higher ground.
5. Check your small craft to ensure they are well secured or moored, consider taking them up on a
trailer for safety.
6. Make sure you have warm clothes, food, drink, a torch and radio.
7. Block doorways and airbricks with sandbags or plastic bags filled with earth. Floodgate products
will work effectively also.
8. Switch off gas and electricity supplies if flooding is imminent.
9. Check the time of High Water in the Newspaper or at

Personal Safety
1. Avoid flood waters at all times.
2. Carry a mobile phone at all times in case you need to call for help - call 112 in emergency.
3. Wear suitable protective clothing & a Lifejacket in on or around water.
4. Never try to swim through fast flowing water.
5. Never put your feet down if swept away.
6. Flooding on roads will be deeper at dips and around bridges.
7. Stay away from sea and flood defences.
8. When walking or driving, be aware of manhole covers and gratings that may have been moved
due to the heavy flow of water.
9. Take care when using electric appliances in damp or flood conditions.
10. Remember that during the hours of darkness the dangers are multiplied.

Published in Marine Warning
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Page 2 of 5

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.


The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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