Displaying items by tag: Irish Water Safety
#watersafety – Water-related tragedies can happen in seconds and in the wake of 128 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.
Dry, crisp weather will prompt people to enjoy activities near water however the air temperature will be considerably colder due to a returning polar air mass meaning people need to dress appropriately for their specific aquatic activity. The dry weather also makes for ideal walking conditions however there is a higher risk of being cut off from shore on coastal walks because the tidal range will be significant due to the Bank Holiday full moon and associated spring tides. There is a risk of cold shock due to sudden immersion in water and of hypothermia due to prolonged immersion, therefore some basic measures, if heeded, will avoid needless tragedies this weekend.
A danger foreseen is 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 or beach walk stranding. These walks will be all the more hazardous due to shorter daylight hours and relatively large tides. Please carry your mobile phone and ideally in the company of others.
Anglers will be at risk and foreign nationals in particular should be extremely vigilant as the Atlantic swell is dramatically different to that experienced on the relatively calmer Baltic Sea. Never fish without your lifejacket.
Those boating should ensure that their family and friends wear a lifejacket at all times.
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 the holiday weekend.
Forty children aged fourteen and under drowned in the last ten years, therefore it is essential that kids are constantly supervised when on or near water.
KEEPING A LIFEBOAT UNDER WRAPS
Keeping a lifeboat design under wraps is some achievement, but that's what an Irishman did with the design for the first RNLI lifeboat to be named after an Irish river. In fact, at the age of 24 he designed the hull form in his spare time!
Four years after his original design, the Shannon class was introduced to public view this week at RNLI headquarters.
Peter Eyre, from Derry, could take justifiable pride because he is an RNLI Naval Architect.
'I kept the design under wraps in the early stages. After a while my boss could see I was working on something and encouraged me to continue. My job was to find the design by working with other naval architects, not to design it. I was the youngest in the team and before long I had designed the new lifeboat hull.
I'm chuffed it was named after an Irish river and the strong connection the boat now has with Ireland. I think the moment it first goes out on a service will be the high point of my career. It's a great legacy to be a part of. When the first life is saved I think that's when it will really hit home.'
Peter has a strong commitment to the RNLI, ever since he was just 14-years-old and the family's 30ft. cruiser racer yacht was dismasted in rough seas and Force 7 winds.
"We were escorted back to shore by the volunteer lifeboat crew. We were so relieved," he recalls.
This is the first time that the RNLI has named a class of lifeboat after an Irish rive.
"It is very fitting considering that Peter has been so fundamental in its design," said Owen Medland, RNLI Training Divisional Inspector for Ireland. "All of the crews who have tested the new lifeboat have been thrilled with its speed, manoeuvrability and the improved crew safety features. We don't know yet which Irish lifeboat stations will receive a Shannon class lifeboat, but the Shannon is designed to replace the majority of Mersey and some Tyne class lifeboats. We look forward to seeing the Shannon here in the near future.'
UK stations will be the first to get the new boat for which the RNLI has launched a €6m. fundraising campaign across the UK and Ireland.
• To make a donation visit: www.rnli.org/newlifeboatappeal
NEW FACE OF ABERDEEN
The amount of foam which swept into Aberdeen in Scotland from the gales that hit the UK and caused a lot of flooding during the week was astonishing.
As the photograph here shows, it looks like the area close to the seashore was covered in snow.
Capt.Rowan MacSweeney, my son, is serving on offshore oil rig supply work at present and told me:
"Monday night was a lively night about these parts. We were 4.5nm out from Aberdeen breakwaters because the port closed. Top gust on our anenometer 70 knots and we got swells of 13metres in the bay. Check out the photo one of the lads I know from another boat took the morning after of the foam created by the storm. Pretty unusual."
Indeed it is.
RULING ENDS 'DARK AGES'
The tanker Exxon Valdez which became notorious after spilling 750,000 barrels of oil into Prince William Sound in Alaska on March 24, 1989, is to be broken-up on Alang Beach in India following assurances given to India's highest court that it would not contain hazardous substances. This was needed after the Court made a ruling which environmentalists have hailed as ending the 'dark ages' of breaking up ships containing hazardous materials on beaches. There have been increasing protests about this practice because of the health, safety and environmental risks involved, particularly for low-paid workers without protection equipment. The Court ruled that vessels sent for shipbreaking will be subject to international rules based on the Basel Convention about hazardous wastes, meaning that shipowners will in future have to remove these materials before the ships are approved for breaking-up on Indian beaches.
FIRST NORWEGIAN CRUISE
The first cruise direct from Cork to Norway has been announced. Lee Travel and Royal Caribbean International will run two 12-day cruises on June 3 and September 9 next year aboard the Independence of the Seas departing from Cork Port's cruise terminal at Cobh. There will be a capacity for 200 passengers to join in Cork Harbour, according to Lee Travel with prices from €1,699 per person, based on 2 adults sharing an inside stateroom. Fly/Cruise price includes flights back to Dublin/Cork. The Norwegian cruises will take in fjords, glacial inlets, castles, the Norwegian countryside and Oslo.
Declan O Connell, Managing Director of Lee Travel, said there is a demand for such a service from Cork. "We are confident that these cruises will be popular and that Royal Caribbean will sail more ships out of Cobh for many years to come."
Norway is also to the fore in another cruise ship development. The first cruise ferries in the world to be powered by natural gas are under construction in a Bergen shipyard for the Norwegian shipping company, Fjord Line. They will be 170-metres long, powered by Rolls Royce LNG-based engines. The company says they will be the most environmentally-friendly cruise ships on the seas, the first to begin sailing next May out of Bergen in Norway and the second a few months later.
The Irish Water Safety Association has recorded 22 work-related drownings in the Republic in the past five years of which 17 were in fishing, 1 while transporting freight over water, 1 each in quarrying and construction and 2 in agriculture. The figures were released this week, coinciding with the National Ploughing Championships and following the tragic Northern Ireland drownings in the farm slurry tank, as a reminder that safety is needed at all times. The Association has also pointed out that children are naturally curious about water: "Each year too many young children are involved in preventable aquatic accidents - forty children have drowned in the last ten years."
FIRST MAN TO WALK ON THE MOON BURIED AT SEA
The first man to walk on the moon has been buried at sea. NASA said Neil Armstrong's cremated remains were buried in the Atlantic Ocean during a ceremony aboard the USS Philippine Sea. The space agency didn't give the location of the ceremony. The ship's homeport is Mayport, Florida. Neil
Armstrong was a Navy fighter pilot before joining the space programme. He died in Ohio in August at the age of 82. His burial followed at sea followed a memorial service in Washington.
The Russian Navy is to build a new type of search-and-rescue ship which will be launched in 2014. It will have submersible rescue vessels aboard. This is because of the number of Russian submarines which have got into difficulties in past years.
China's first aircraft carrier has entered service. The 300m (990ft) Liaoning - named after the province where it was refitted - is a refurbished Soviet ship purchased from Ukraine. the carrier has no operational aircraft and will be used for training. The Chinese Government said the vessel, which has undergone extensive sea trials, will increase its capacity to defend State interests.
TANKER DESTROYED COMMANDER
The Commander of a U.S. Navy destroyer was removed from command after his vessel was involved in a collision. The USS Porter was operating near the Straits of Hormuz when struck on its starboard side by the 300,000-tonne tanker Otowasan. Nobody was hurt in the incident .The tanker suffered only superficial damage, but the destroyer was severely damaged according to reports and sailed to the United Arab Emirates for repairs. The destroyer's Commander, Martin Arriola, was removed from command there and replaced.
A cargo ship has ran aground on its maiden voyage from Southampton to the Channel Islands. The 295ft. £8.8m Huelin Renouf Dispatch hit an isolated rock one and a half miles south-west of Alderney and issued a distress cal, responded to by the RNLI Roy Barker One which was on the scene within 15 minutes. Damage to the Dispatch was assessed and it was found that water was coming in at the stern. The vessel had a crew of eight. The leak was contained and the 2,500-ton ship was floated off the rock then sailed to Falmouth at half-speed where it went into dry dock.
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#WATER SAFETY - Irish Water Safety is warning members of the public that Portuguese Man-of-Wars have landed on beaches in Waterford and Cork, with reports of sightings in Tramore, Ardmore, Inchydoney and Schull so far – and may land on other shores, particularly Kerry
With another sunny weekend expected, surfers and families enjoying the beach are at a high risk of encountering them and their stings, which usually cause severe pain to humans.
The Portuguese Man-of-War is an invertebrate and carnivore with tentacles that can reach up to 50 metres in length. Despite being commonly thought to be a jellyfish, it is actually a different form of marine wildlife known as a siphonophore: an animal made up of a colony of organisms working together.
Man-of-wars are sometimes found in groups of 1,000 or more, floating in warm waters throughout the world's oceans. They have no independent means of propulsion and either drift on the currents or catch the wind with their gas-filled floats. To avoid threats on the surface, they can deflate their air bags and briefly submerge.
They are most commonly found in the tropical and subtropical regions of the Pacific and Indian oceans and in the northern Atlantic Gulf Stream.
The stinging, venom-filled nematocysts in their tentacles are used to paralyse small fish and other prey. Stings leave whip-like, red welts on the skin that normally last two or three days after the initial sting, though the pain should subside after about an hour.
However, the venom can sometimes travel to the lymph nodes and may cause a more intense pain. A sting can also lead to an allergic reaction and other serious effects, including fever, shock, and interference with heart and lung function. Stings in some cases have been known to cause death, although this is extremely rare.
Medical attention may be necessary, especially if pain persists or is intense, there is an extreme reaction, the rash worsens, a feeling of overall illness develops, a red streak develops between swollen lymph nodes and the sting, or either area becomes red, warm and tender.
Even detached tentacles and dead specimens (including those that wash up on shore) can sting just as painfully as the live creature in the water and may remain potent for hours or even days after the death of the creature or the detachment of the tentacle, so should always be avoided.
The best treatment for a Portuguese Man-of-War sting is to avoid any further contact with the creature, carefully remove any remnants of it from the skin (taking care not to touch them directly with fingers or any other part of the skin to avoid secondary stinging), Apply salt water to the affected area (not fresh water, which tends to make the affected area worse) then follow up with the application of hot water (around 45 degrees C) to the affected area, which eases the pain of a sting by denaturing the toxins.
If eyes have been affected, to irrigate with copious amounts of room temperature tap water for at least 15 minutes, and if vision blurs or the eyes continue to tear, hurt, swell, or show light sensitivity after irrigating, or there is any concern, to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Vinegar is not recommended for treating stings, as it can increase toxin delivery and worsens symptoms of stings from this species. Vinegar has also been confirmed to provoke hemorrhaging when used on the less severe stings of nematocysts of smaller species.
For more details from Irish Water Safety on dealing with jellyfish stings, click HERE.
Some 140 top lifesavers took part in events featuring a combination of surfing, surf-skiing and beach sprinting on the sun-and-surf-splashed strand - part of the preparations for November's World Lifesaving Championships in Australia.
Teams from Co Clare took the men's and over-30s titles - following the county's success at the European Lifesaving Championships in Sweden last month - while the women's top spot went to locals Donegal.
"Surf lifeguards have vital skills and every part of their training was on display," event organiser Seamus O'Neill of Irish Water Safety told the Independent.
#DROWNINGS – On average three people drown every week in Ireland* and with St. Patrick's Day 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 when angling and for all water-based activities.
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 and the number will only decrease when the public takes responsibility to protect themselves, family and friends from the dangers around waterways. This weekend will entice people to enjoy recreational boating, angling, surfing, diving and walks by waterways nationwide however water temperatures are still cold and people will risk cold shock and hypothermia due to sudden or prolonged periods in water.
Whilst the forecast is unsettled over the weekend, many people will take to boating and other activities where it will be crucial and perhaps lifesaving that a lifejacket, with 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.
*Based on a ten-year average (to 2010) of 150 drownings per annum, giving 2.88 drownings per week, brought to the nearest decimal place.
#WATER SAFETY - Two teenage surfers have been honoured for their brave effort in rescuing a young boy from drowning earlier this year, The Irish Times reports.
Bernard Cahill, 17, and Donough Cronin, 16, from Ennis received Just in Time Awards at Irish Water Safety's annual awards ceremony in Dublin Castle on Tuesday.
The duo were recognised for going to the aid of nine-year-old Gearóid Rogers, who was caught in a rip current near Spanish Point with his father Ger.
The Rogers family paid tribute to the surfing teens at the ceremony, with Ger saying he and his son were "lucky to be alive" thanks to their actions.
However, from June 30-July 3, when the ships are moored in Waterford and when we do go down to the quays to see them, the public must be aware of the dangers associated with closeness to water and be actively responsible for their own safety and that of their children! No doubt, every precaution will be taken to ensure as far as is practical that safety precautions and rescue equipment are in place for your protection. However, this does not alter the responsibility we have for our own personal safety and that of our children at all times.
For this reason, the host port team for the Tall Ships visit will have in place comprehensive safety and management arrangements, coupled with regimes for rescuing people in the event of a water related accident. Again, this in no way relieves any visitor to the quaysides of responsibility for their own personal water craft and all on board and the safety and care of all.
Do not go too near to the quayside edges; remember falling down between a quay and a boat is one of the most difficult places to get rescued from.
If anxious to see or visit a particular Tall Ship, don't push those in front of you towards the water's edge. Take your time; the ships are in Waterford over three days.
If going on board any boat or ships, never jump from the quay onto the boat, or indeed from boat to boat. Always use a gangplank if available. If not, you must take extreme care when crossing.
Excessive alcohol and water do not mix. Therefore, visitors to the quaysides should ensure that they do not have excessive drink taken.
Those who invite people on board their vessels, regardless of size, must take a responsible approach to the availability of alcohol - bearing in mind the inherent dangers of being on board a vessel at all times under the influence of any alcoholic drink.
Do not climb on or over any railings, walls or other barriers that protect the quays from the water.
On smaller vessels, there is a definite legal requirement in relation to wearing life-jackets and one should be familiar with this requirement.
Ringbuoys and other lifesaving equipment placed on the quaysides should not under any circumstance be interfered with, they are provided to save lives in the event of someone falling into the water.
For those afloat, MARINE NOTICE 047 of 2011 has significance and all should make themselves aware of this important document which covers all recreational craft afloat and the responsibilities with regard to their vessel.
In conclusion, it behoves every person to ensure that The Tall Ships Races will be a safe and memorable occasion to visit Waterford with its noble quays, a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle to have seen and enjoyed by all who visit the city and port.
Calling "112" or "999"- Ask for the "Coast Guard".
If you see someone in trouble in the water (or you think someone is in trouble) don't hesitate to dial one of the emergency numbers (112 or 999) and ask to be put through to the "Coast Guard". When you are connected to the Coast Guard, give a brief description of what you saw and the Coast Guard will decide on the necessary action to take.
Remember! Always ask for the Coast Guard, as this will avoid any unnecessary delay by being connected to the wrong service particularly if someone is in trouble in the water. During the Tall Ships visit to Waterford should a telephone not be available ask any Garda, Civil Defence Officer or other steward on duty for help.
If you fall overboard, the key to surviving is being able to continue breathing until help arrives. If you are wearing a correctly fitting lifejacket you will stay afloat and breathing. If you are not wearing one and even if you have some swimming ability, you will probably drown, as you grow weaker due to the onset of hypothermia.
As part of National Water Safety Awareness Week (May 30th - June 6th), Irish Water Safety is pushing a new initiative in the hope of reducing the number of boating fatalities. As part of their "Be smart from the start" campaign, Irish Water Safety is pleading with the public to wear their life jacket on a small boat just as they would use a seatbelt in a car.
Carrying a lifejacket on board is simply not good enough. There is no excuse not to wear a life jacket on water, the best lifejacket being the one you will actually wear. Irish Water Safety has launched a new television campaign in the run up to the summer season that is working to convince recreational and commercial boaters to adopt safe practices, particularly the wearing of life jackets. The adverts can be viewed on the IWS website www.iws.ie and on the IWS Facebook and YouTube pages.
Deaths on water are preventable. There are far too many situations in which lifejackets were not considered. Tragically this can often be as a result of not thinking about safety rather than a case of not wanting to do the right thing. Often life jackets sit on boats, unused which is a practice that has to end to save lives.
Here are just some of the tragic circumstances in which people have drowned as a result of not wearing a lifejacket.
- Capsized in rough water.
- Sinking in unexpectedly heavy sea conditions.
- Thrown from the boat as a result of a collision.
- Injured by rocks or submerged objects.
- Tossed into cold water.
- Thrown off balance while fishing.
- Unable to swim because of heavy or waterlogged clothing.
- Wearable lifejackets not readily accessible (locked away or stowed under other gear).
- Not able to put them on quickly in an emergency (vessel sinking, on fire).
- Detailed information on PFD's at http://www.iws.ie/guides-page24421.html
"BE SMART FROM THE START" - Always your lifejacket.
Irish Water Safety (IWS) has launched a new TV awareness campaign to highlight best practice whether in, on or around water in an effort to cut the number of tragic drownings on our coasts and waterways.
"Ireland is blessed with some of the most beautiful locations in the world for water based activities and this campaign will help people enjoy these waterways safely," said Minister of State Fergus O'Dowd, speaking ahead of the launch.
The number of people taking to water based activities has exploded in the last decade, says IWS, yet many have had no formal swimming or lifesaving instruction, and many do not know what to do if they or a loved one gets into difficulty in the water.
The campaign highlights the importance of aquiring these skills and others, such as how to correctly wear a lifejacket.
"The most common dangers can be avoided by logging onto Irish Water Safety's website so that when the improving weather prompts a day trip to the seaside, rivers and lakes that you are well informed and stay safe," added Minister O'Dowd.
Irish Water Safety is calling for people to be more aware of the dangers presented by water based activities and wants the general public to know that there are many reasons people drown which are not simply limited to warmer weather risk taking. People have a responsibility to themselves and family to stay safe around water by knowing the dangers and learning from the lessons offered by the 1,499 person's lives tragically lost in a ten year period.
A synopsis of some general contributory factors over the years
1. Poor or inadequate equipment (e.g. boats or lifejackets);
2. Alcohol consumption;
3. Falling unexpectedly into water ;
4. Improper use of boats and equipment;
5. Overestimation of skills;
6. Lack of local knowledge when travelling in Ireland and abroad;
7. Not being able to swim;
8. Easy unauthorised access to waterways;
10. Current (including rip currents, river currents, and tidal currents);
11. Offshore winds (including flotation devices);
12. Pre-existing diseases (e.g. heart attacks);
13. Underwater entanglement;
14. Bottom surface gradient and stability;
15. Waves (coastal, boat);
16. Water transparency;
17. Impeded visibility (including coastal configuration, structures and overcrowding);
18. Lack of parental supervision (infants and children);
19. Change in weather conditions;
20. Excessive 'horseplay' or over exuberant behavior (including "tombstoning" from cliffs);
21. Swimming outside the depth of the user.
22. Suicide and Homicide
A synopsis of some general preventive and management actions
1. Public education by Irish Water Safety regarding hazards and safe behaviours;
2. Teaching children to stay away from water when unsupervised through the IWS PAWS (Primary Aquatics Water Safety) programme;
3. Continual adult supervision of children;
4. IWS media campaigns that drowning can happen quickly and quietly;
5. Promote in IWS press announcements, the restriction of alcohol provision before or during aquatic activities;
6. Provision by Irish Water Safety of properly trained and equipped lifeguards;
7. Provision of rescue services;
8. Irish Water Safety Risk Assessments that include assessments of local hazard warning notices, access to emergency response and availability of resuscitation skills/facilities and other factors;
9. Development by Irish Water Safety of rescue and resuscitation skills among general public and user groups;
10. Coordination by Irish Water Safety with user group associations concerning hazard awareness and safe behaviours;
11. Wearing of adequate lifejackets and Personal Flotation Devices when boating;
12. Fencing and doors to isolate outdoor pools, slurry pits, rivers on farms and other water features near populations.
The 20% decrease in the number of incidents involving leisure and recreational activities to which the Irish Coast Guard had to respond can be accounted for in no small part by the increase in the general public's awareness of water safety best practices. The change in culture on our aquatic environment is comparable to that which saw a huge increase in the wearing of seatbelts in cars over the last two decades. The huge increase in the number of people taking to water-based activities in the last decade saw the culture shift progressively towards a responsibility among the public to wearing lifejackets when taking to water based activities.