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Displaying items by tag: Irish Water Safety

#marinesafety – 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
Tagged under

#lifesaving – Competitors at the National Surf Lifesaving Championships had their skills and stamina tested in events that simulated emergency rescue scenarios in glorious sunshine and in an azure blue sea at Curracloe beach. The winning team from Clare dominated the competition with the fittest lifesavers nationwide at this annual gala of lifesaving. Ireland's best lifesavers were challenged in open water conditions off the Wexford coast to rescue simulated "casualties" in testing run, swim, board rescue, surf ski races and ocean man events. However the dominance of Clare came through with exceptional results with three Clare teams in the first four teams.

The President's Trophy (Prize for winning County Team was presented by President Séan O'Kelly in 1950):

1st: Clare Men
2nd: Donegal Ladies
3rd : Clare Ladies
4th : Clare Men B Team
5th : Waterford Men
6th : Galway Men

Irish Water Safety Chief Executive, John Leech said these are the lifeguards who saved 559 members of the public during the heat wave in July. This is hardly surprising as we have 7 European medalist's competing on these teams. These athletes demonstrated great competence and professionalism today and made for a stunning spectacle on a sun drenched Curracloe Beach. It is a credit to Irish Water Safety coaches nationwide who spent all year preparing competitors around Ireland's coastline. Ireland won 10 Junior and senior European medals in Holland and Italy during the summer.

The Sport of Lifesaving offers lifesaving skills and the development of a healthy lifestyle. As part of its remit to promote water safety in Ireland, Irish Water Safety trains Lifeguards employed at beaches, lakes, rivers and pools nationwide. Irish Water Safety encourages the public to learn to swim and enroll in one of the many courses nationwide in the valuable skills of water survival and lifesaving.

Published in Rescue

#WaterSafety - Four more people have drowned in separate incidents around Ireland as the heatwave continues.

As RTÉ News reports, a 24-year-old man died while swimming in the sea near Ardara in Co Donegal yesterday afternoon (20 July).

Later, the body of a second victim was recovered from the Shrule River in Newtownstewart, Co Tyrone after getting into difficulty.

A third man in his 60s is was drowned after failing to return from a swim in a quarry near Carrick-on-Suir. His body was recovered earlier today.

The tragedies follow news of a 19-year-old who drowned while swimming with friends in Lough Leane in Killarney on Friday evening (19 July).

And a woman in her 30s was lucky to be rescued after getting into difficulty swimming in the River Nore near Kilkenny. She is currently in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

Irish Water Safety have renewed their appeal for the public to take extra care when taking to the water during this extraordinary hot weather that had already claimed seven lives as of Thursday last.

Published in Water Safety

#WaterSafety - Water safety chiefs have yet again underscored the dangers of swimming in unsupervised areas after a teenager drowned in Co Derry yesterday afternoon.

The Irish Times reports that the 15-year-old boy was airlifted to hospital by police helicopter after getting into difficulty when he fell into the River Roe.

The as yet unnamed teen is the seventh drowning victim on the island of Ireland during the current heatwave.

Last week alone saw five drownings of young people, prompting Irish Water Safety CEO John Leech to make a public appeal for awareness of the dangers of swimming in areas without lifeguards, especially in open water.

“One of the reasons we’re losing all these youngish people is because a whole generation haven’t learned to swim in open water,” said Leech, who added that 32 per cent of victims have consumed alcohol.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Water Safety

#WaterSafety - RTÉ News reports that a teenager has drowned in Co Roscommon in the fourth such tragic incident during this week's heatwave.

The teen was one of three swimmers who went missing in Annaghmore Lough near Strokestown yesterday evening.

Two of the swimmers managed to reach the shore, but the body of this third was recovered before midnight by a search party led by the Irish Coast Guard's Shannon rescue helicopter and involving local angling boats.

The sad news comes just a day after a 12-year-old boy drowned while swimming in the sea off Youghal beach in Co Cork.

That followed the death of a 21-year-old woman named Lisa Knight who was swimming with friends in the River Feale in Co Limerick late on Tuesday night.

And on Wednesday afternoon a 17-year-old boy drowned after getting into difficulty swimming in a lake in Celbridge, Co Kildare, according to The Irish Times.

Irish Water Safety chief John Leech has appealed to the public on RTÉ Radio 1's Morning Ireland to be aware of the risks associated with the water, especially in unsupervised areas - and particularly for inexperienced swimmers.

Published in Water Safety

Irish Water Safety (IWS) held a Council meeting today and discussed the latest drowning statistics 'AS A MATTER OF URGENCY' for 2012 which will be released shortly.

147 people drowned last year compared to 162 people who were killed on our roads in crashes.

What was most alarming is that 33 people drowned accidentally in 2010 whilst last year 66 people drowned accidentally. These figures are alarming and IWS are pleading with the public to ensure that they always wear a lifejacket when they are on or near water.

Most accidental drownings are preventable so long as people wear lifejackets as our Coast Guard can deploy rescue assets such as lifeboats and helicopters to a casualty, very often in minutes from when they are alerted.

The Council of IWS is concerned that the media and public are not taking heade to our messages and request that they assist us in promulgating the message out to the public as there is an alarming increase in drownings in the last two years.

Whilst drowning figures had reduced greatly from an average of 180 ten years ago to 140 last year this trend is now heading in a very worrying direction. With a long summer ahead and a promise of further good weather, IWS pleads with the public when they are on or near the water to "ALWAYS WEAR A LIFEJACKET" AS "LIFEJACKETS FLOAT - YOU DON'T".

Inflatable Lifejacket Checklist

Ensure your automatic inflatable lifejacket is serviced by an approved agent every year and is in date
Ensure Cartridges have not been punctured and are secured firmly.
Ensure all zips, buckles, fasteners and webbing straps are functioning correctly and adjusted to fit the user.
Check that fitted lights are operating correctly.
Check that the valve or lifejacket is not leaking.
Ensure that you lifejacket is fitted with a crotch strap and is fitted correctly.

Always ensure it is serviceable condition with all zips, ties and velcros operating correctly

Published in Marine Warning

There are 140 drownings in Ireland every year - that's more than five per fortnight. As we approach the May Bank Holiday weekend, water safety should be prioritised by anyone coming close to coastline or inland waterways and when pursuing water-based or waterside activities to avoid the dangers of cold shock, hypothermia and drowning.

There are many reasons people drown yet on Bank Holiday weekends, people often become complacent and put themselves and their families in situations that result in injury or loss of life.

People have a responsibility to themselves and family to stay safe around water by knowing the dangers and learning from the situations that have led to tragic drownings in the past:

Always wear a Lifejacket when on water and ensure that it has a correctly fitted crotch strap.

Shore walkers should stay away from the edge and beach walkers should remain vigilant to the dangers of being stranded.

Ensure that you are fully trained and competent for your aquatic activity.

Be mindful of the safety of family and friends, especially children. Children are naturally curious about water and constant supervision is the safest way to avoid tragedy. Parents of primary school children should check if their local school has yet introduced Irish Water Safety's PAWS programme - Primary Aquatics Water Safety, which teaches children all about staying safe around water. The program is now a component part of the physical education strand of the primary school curriculum and is key to reducing child drowning mortalities and injuries. Now is the time to instill good habits in time for the summer months ahead.
Anglers should be extremely vigilant when fishing from the shoreline of Atlantic swells.

Swimmers should swim parallel and close to the shore.
Alcohol should be avoided before or during any aquatic activity. On average, a third of drowning victims had consumed alcohol therefore it is best left until after your activity to celebrate.

In emergency situations, never hesitate to call 112.

Published in Marine Warning

#watersafety – On average three people drown every week in Ireland and with St. Patrick's Day 2013 festivities approaching, Irish Water Safety is appealing to all members of the public to ensure that they wear a well maintained and correctly fitting lifejacket for all water-based activities.

IWS also appeals for an awareness of the potential danger of excessive alcohol consumption in or about the vicinity of water as on average a third of all drowning victims will have consumed alcohol.

There is an increased risk of water related accidents and tragedies this coming long-weekend as the number of people taking to activities in and around water will increase. Drowning is often as a result of excessive alcohol consumption(ii) this level will only decrease when the public takes responsibility to protect themselves, family and friends from the dangers around waterways, these are tragic and preventable deaths.
This weekend may entice people to enjoy recreational boating, sailing, angling, surfing, diving, walks and general recreation by waterways nationwide. Water temperatures are still cold at 7 to 11 degrees Celsius at sea and cooler in freshwater. People are at risk to cold shock and hypothermia due to sudden immersion or prolonged periods in water.

Whilst the forecast is for cold weather over the weekend, many people will still take to our waterways so it will be crucial and perhaps lifesaving that a lifejacket, with a crotch strap, be worn. It is also critical that adults supervise children at all times around water.

Information on how to ensure that you have a correct lifejacket that is fit-for-purpose is available at Irish Water Safety's website,

Published in Marine Warning
Tagged under

#iws – The Chief Executive, of Irish Water Safety, John Leech is warning the public of the increased risk to drowning around our coastline for the next few days. 10% of all recorded drowning in Ireland are as a result of people walking close to the waters edge.

The combination of high tides as a result of the Full Moon on Sunday, low pressure out in the Atlantic and Gale Force winds makes walking along our coastline particularly dangerous today and for the next day or so. Our Estuaries and rivers are also hazardous due to the high levels of rainfall in the last few days and the rain forecast for the remainder of the week.

We recommend that walker's who normally walk along our coastline, promenades, piers and rivers should use an inland alternative away from water for the early part of this week, until the weather and tidal conditions improve to make it a safer environment.

Flood conditions expose the public to hazards they need to be aware of. Fast moving water can exert pressure of up to four times its speed against the legs of someone attempting to cross it. Because water displaces bodyweight, the deeper a person becomes immersed the less the person weighs so the more difficult it is to remain upright. Never put ones feet down if swept away in floodwater, because foot and body entrapments and pinning are the leading cause of accidental death in rivers and fast flowing water.

Motorists need to be vigilant to avoid flooded areas on roads but particularly near rivers; with poor light and short days it is not possible to determine the depth of floods easily. Swift water will carry cars and other vehicles away and there have been very tragic drownings in the past as a result.

Children are naturally curious about water, therefore parents should caution them that floodwater hides the true depth and that manhole covers may be open and that small streams when swollen are very fast and deeper than normal.

Personal Safety

Avoid flood waters at all times

carry a mobile phone at all times in case you need to call for help - call 112 in emergency

Wear suitable protective clothing & a lifejacket on or around water

Do not enter fast flowing water.

Never put your feet down if swept away by fast flowing waters

Flooding on roads will be deeper at dips and around bridges.

Stay away from sea and flood defences.

when walking or driving, be aware of manhole covers and gratings that may have been moved due to the heavy flow of water.

Take care when using electric appliances in damp or flood conditions.

Remember that during the hours of darkness the dangers are multiplied.

What should I do when I hear a Flood Warning?

Listen to the national and local radio for Met Eireann updates and AA Road watch updates

Check on neighbours particularly if they are elderly, infirmed or families with young children

Move your vehicles to higher ground

Move animal stock to higher ground

Check your small craft to ensure they are well secured or moored

Make sure you have warm clothes, food, drink, a torch and radio.

Block doorways and airbricks with sandbags or plastic bags filled with earth. Floodgate products will also work effectively.

Switch off gas and electricity supplies if flooding is imminent.

Check the time of High Water in the Newspaper or on

Check out for more detail on General flooding

After the flood

Avoid eating food that has been in contact with flood water.

Run water for a few minutes and wash your taps.

Check gas and electricity supply.

Leave wet electrical equipment alone to dry and have it checked prior to use.

Ventilate your property well.

Check on elderly neighbours.

Published in Marine Warning
Tagged under

#irishwatersafety – Twenty-six rescuers from twenty-two dramatic near-death incidents will receive recognition at Irish Water Safety's National Awards Ceremony at City Hall, Dublin on Tuesday 27th November 2012, from 3pm to 5pm. Thirty-six lives were saved through the brave actions of these rescuers.

Mr John Perry TD, Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation will present the "SEIKO Just in Time Rescue Award" to these rescuers in appreciation for saving so many lives.

"Tragically an average of 140 drownings occur in Ireland every year," commented Minister Perry, "and although that's 140 too many, the figure would be even higher but for the dramatic efforts of these individuals who saved others from drowning and the ongoing work of volunteers teaching swimming and rescue skills."

"Last year, the 128 drownings in Ireland were lower than the annual average, reason enough to be confident that the work of Irish Water Safety Volunteers and partners in the public and private sector is having the desired outcome - more people enjoying our wonderful aquatic facilities more safely. That said complacency is not an option", he added.

"I appeal to all adults to make themselves more aware of the dangers in, on and around water", continued Minister Perry. "It only takes seconds for tragedy to strike and this can so easily be avoided if people take responsibility for their own safety by learning about the hazards. I ask that people encourage friends and family to read Irish Water Safety's guidelines at so that they don't become a drowning statistic."

Service Awards will also be presented, recognising 795 years of personal service of 43 Irish Water Safety volunteers from around the country for teaching swimming, rescue and water survival skills.



Co. Clare

Ms Eve Copley, Ms Ellen McMahon, Ms Aisling O'Sullivan

On the evening of Tuesday the 12th June 2012, three friends, Aisling, Eve and Ellen, were walking home from town when they noticed a woman in distress at the edge of the River Fergus, trying to retrieve her dog by calling to him. The woman entered the water and soon got into difficulty due to the strong current. Without hesitation the three friends quickly raced to the aid of the woman. They got the lifebuoy that was located at Steels Rock, Lifford town and threw it towards the woman who grabbed hold of it and they pulled her in towards them to safety. Thanks to the quick thinking and actions of these three friends a drowning was prevented.

Co Cork

Ms Bebhinn Crowley

Sunday 7th October 2012, The Munster School championships took place at UL. Fifteen year old Bebhinn came to the rescue of her friend. During a 100m final, a female competitor collapsed, having completed the race. It was the observation and quick response of Bebhinn that resulted in the rescue of this student.

Co Cork

Mr Karl Fitzgerald

On Saturday 25th August 2012, the Fitzgerald family were at Chimney Cove, West Cork. Karl's parents entered the water and they were wading until the current pulled them out of their depth. They tried to swim back to shore but the force of the current was too strong. Karl immediately made his way down along the rocks towards them. He entered the water and rescued his mother first. Once she was safe, he assisted his cousin Michael in rescuing his father. If it were not for the quick thinking and actions of Karl, this incident may have ended in tragedy.

Co Donegal

Mr Jason McClay

Around midnight, on the 2nd June 2012, a car had left the road, careered fifty yards through a field and went off a steep drop into the Crana river near Buncranna. Nineteen year old Jason McClay from Kinnego, had been at a friend's house when he heard the screeching of tyres followed by a loud bang. He left the house and ran down through a field and saw that a car was submerged in the water. Without hesitation, Jason jumped off the 40 ft Ravine. Upon entering the water he noticed a girl who had managed to escape out of the car. Jason swam in through the car window. Visibility was poor as it was very dark and he could not see anyone else in the car. On leaving the car, he noticed a boy and dragged him over to the bank. He then went back and got another boy out and dragged him to safety. There were four passengers in total, all teenagers. Only two were swimmers. Emergency services arrived to the scene. Due to the quick thinking and selfless courage of Jason's actions, four lives were saved.

Co Donegal

Mr Patrick Moss

On the afternoon of the 27th of December 2011, twenty year old Patrick Moss was taking a walk along the Rosbeg pier when he saw a car enter the water. He assessed the situation and ran to the shore where he entered the water and swam out towards the car which was sinking. He grabbed onto the driver of the car and took her to safety. He placed her into the recovery position until the emergency services arrived.


Mr Daragh Lavelle, Mr Kevin Barry

DublinOn the 25th May 2012, at the 40 foot, Sandycove, Dun Laoghaire, Kevin Barry was taking his regular swim when he heard a male shouting for help. He observed two males in trouble in the water.   Without hesitation, Kevin immediately swam to one struggling male, placed his arm around him and brought him to safety. On hearing shouts for help, Daragh entered the water and swam 200 meters out to assist Kevin with the rescue of the other male. He checked the male once at the shore and placed him into the recovery position.


Mr Ian Brennan

On Sunday 7th October 2012, Ian Brennan, a duty manager at Leisureland, Galway, was at work when a call came to reception saying that a person was in difficulty in the water at Salthill. Without hesitation, Ian grabbed a ringbuoy and went to the scene. He entered the water and swam out to the man. He held onto the man until the Galway Lifeboat reached them both. The man was suffering from hypothermia and was taken to hospital where he made a full recovery.


Garda John Callahan

On the 30th August 2010, Garda John Callahan responded to a call at Lough Muckno, Castleblaney, Co Monaghan. He observed a young girl in distress in the water. Without hesitation, Garda Callahan swam to her aid but as he approached the girl, she disappeared under water. Garda Callahan dived under water and brought her to the surface and safely back to shore. The girl made a full recovery.


Mr Colin Lawlor

On the afternoon of the 17th August 2011, at Johns Bridge, on the River Nore, Kilkenny, Colin Lawlor was out running along the riverbank when he noticed a person in distress in the water. He instructed two passersby to call the emergency services. Without any hesitation he grabbed a lifebuoy and then entered the water. The person was tiring and had gone under the water a few times. As he went under again Colin grabbed his wrist and carried him to the bank. Emergency Services arrived and commenced first aid. He made a full recovery.


Mr Brian McLaren

At approximately 6pm on the 12th August 2012 at Mornington Beach, five children were playing in the waves when a riptide swept them out of their depth and they got into difficulty. Brian McLaren observed the children and asked his partner to phone emergency service before entering the water. He swam fifty meters to the children and encouraged four of the children to swim to rocks. He then swam out to the youngest child and upon reaching him he managed to bring him to the breakwater to safety and onto rocks where he performed CPR.   Brian had also drawn the attention of a group of people on Jet Skis.   He instructed the Jet Skier to help him remove the child to the shore. Brian and other members of the public helped carry the other four children off the breakwater to the safety of the shore. All children made a full recovery.


Mr Jack Donohue

At approximately 11pm on the 5th July 2012 a car crashed and plunged into Coosan Point, Athlone. When Jack Donohue arrived at the scene he grabbed a lifebuoy and entered the water. He reached the car and opened the door and put the lifebuoy around the driver and pulled him out of the car and took him to safety where emergency services were waiting. The man made a full recovery.


Mr John Ross, Mr Fergie Kehoe

On the 10th March 2012 a female got into difficulty at Commercial Quay, Wexford. Without any hesitation John Ross and Fergie Kehoe came to the rescue of the woman. They lowered themselves onto a raft and upon reaching the woman John Ross placed a lifebuoy around her and pulled her up onto the raft and took her to safety. The Woman made a full recovery.


Mr Gus Cooney, Ms Deirdre Fitzgerald

On Saturday 26th May 2012, Gus Cooney observed a man had got into difficulty at Glen Strand, Wicklow. Without any hesitation Gus entered the water and with the aid of Deirdre Fitzgerald brought the man to safety. The man made a full recovery.


Ms Beverly Dunne, Ms Lorraine Hamm, Mr Arthur Muizininks, Mr Demitri Agurazov, Mr Norman Kudla.

On the evening of the 10th of August 2012 at Brittas Bay North beach, a ten year old boy was playing with other children at a sand dune when it collapsed suddenly, burying the boy. Friends Beverly Dunne and Lorraine Hann were packing up with their families when their attention was drawn to the area by a boy in distress. It became evident that there was someone trapped. Lorraine telephoned the emergency services. Meanwhile, three friends, Arthur, Demitri and Norman immediately began digging. After approximately twelve minutes they pulled the boy to safety. He began breathing and was taken away by ambulance. He made a full recovery.


Mr PJ Patton (posthumous award), Mr Larry McGonigle (posthumous award), Mr John Patton, Mr Hugh-John            McGonigle

In June of 1955, two men from Ballyshannon set out to bring up their fishing punt, which they had anchored the previous evening. One of the men, Mr McCusker, waded out to it, but he suddenly found himself out of his depth. He tried to swim against the strong current but he could not, his friend tried to reach him but it was too dangerous.

Mr McCusker found himself sucked down by the swirling water yet he continued swimming until he broke the surface. He tried to swim towards the "Black Rock" but was taken by the current again. He spotted an old boat wreck and he managed to grasp it and pull himself up. It was extremely cold. He saw men in the distance and waved. He could feel his feet go numb and he knew he had to try to get his circulation back. Four young men, John Patton now age 78, Larry McGonigle R.I.P., Hugh John McGonigle age 78 and P.J. Patton R.I.P., went to the rescue of Mr McCusker. Upon assessing the situation they got a boat and went out into the channel where the water was bubbling up around them. They dropped an anchor and then let the boat out on a rope trying to get close to the wreck. It took them four attempts before they managed to reach Mr McCusker and eventually managed to get him into the boat. The rescue took over one hour.

Co Clare

Mr Paddy Casey, Mr Peter Downes (posthumous award)

Paddy Casey now 85 years of age, was involved in many rescues during the 1940's, 50's and 60's. Paddy was one of the first officially appointed lifeguards in Ireland at a time when training and equipment were few or non-existent.   Support services were scarce and communication was limited to written and word of mouth. Lifeguards were on their own and reliant on their own skills and knowledge.   Paddy was one of the first members of the Clare Swimming and Life Saving Association.

Paddy was appointed Lifeguard in 1943. Also appointed was Mr Peter Downes. Together they prevented loss of life due to drowning in their years as lifeguards.

On 15th July 1944, Paddy was patrolling Spanish Point beach when he noticed a woman in distress in the water. He immediately reacted and swam to her aid and succeeded in bringing her safely ashore. He was assisted by Peter Downes at the later stages of the rescue.

On the 14th August 1949, at Spanish Point beach, three people got into difficulty. Peter Downes swam to their assistance, The second lifeguard Paddy, observed his companion and rushed to their assistance.   After fighting his way through waves which reached 4-5 feet in height, Paddy brought one of the female swimmers to safety and returned to the water to retrieve a male swimmer. Paddy then entered the water for a third time in search of Peter and the third person who had by now drifted seawards. Both lifeguards took the lady to safety and performed CPR on her and thankfully she recovered well.

In September of 1955, at Spanish Point, despite the warning given to a male swimmer regarding poor bathing conditions, the swimmer entered the water and got into difficulty. Without hesitation Paddy entered the water and succeeded in bringing the exhausted swimmer to safety.

In August 1955, 2 female swimmers got into difficulty at Spanish Point. Both lifeguards Peter Downes and Paddy Casey went to their assistance and brought them to safety.

In July 1956, two students found themselves in danger after they ventured too far out to sea. Again both lifeguards, Paddy Casey and Peter Downes, were to hand and brought the two female students to safety.

In 1957, four young students entered the water at Spanish Point despite having been warned of the dangers of bathing that day. The students got into difficulty and both Paddy and Peter decided that the only safe way to rescue them, due to the inclement conditions, was to take a line either side of them. They entered the water and instructed the four young men to swim to the line and hold on, which they did, and with the help of the lifeguards they were then able to wade to shore.

In 1969 while standing on a cliff overlooking the beach at Spanish Point early one morning, Paddy Casey observed a young woman had got into difficulty in water, her husband a non-swimmer was calling for help. Without hesitation, Paddy entered the water and swam to her and brought her to safety.

From 1944-1962 Fifteen lives were saved - Paddy Casey saved ten lives and Mr Peter Downes R.I.P. saved five lives.

Published in Water Safety
Tagged under
Page 3 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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