Public urged to stay safe around water

High number of drownings during last hot spell
  • Deborah Condon

Irish Water Safety (IWS) is urging people to stay safe when they are in or near water over the coming days.

Met Éireann has said that there will be sunshine every day over the next week, with afternoon temperatures hitting the mid to high 20s on some days.

However, during the last spell of very good weather, which started in late May, 10 people drowned accidentally over a 15-day period.

IWS reminded people that drownings can happen ‘silently and in seconds'.

"In the wake of recent warm weather drownings and forecasted hot weather ahead, we have issued an alert advising the public on how to stay safe near water. The hot weather will see many people swimming in open water for the first time this year. And the following advice will help safeguard the public from drowning," the organisation said.

IWS advises the public to:

-Only swim within your depth
-Supervise children very closely and do not use inflatable toys in open water
-Swim at designated bathing areas where lifeguards are on duty during the bathing season, which runs from June 1 to September 15. These can be viewed here. If there are no designated bathing areas near you, only swim in areas that are known locally as safe and which have ringbuoys present in the event that a rescue is needed
-Make sure that the water's edge has shallow shelving so that you can enter and exit safely
-If you are not used to cooler water, wear a wetsuit
-Wear a lifejacket when on or near water, such as when on a boat
-Do not mix alcohol with water activities - it is a risk factor in one-third of all drownings
-Never swim in quarries or ESB reservoirs.

IWS also gives the following advice if you see somebody in difficulty in the water:

-Shout to the person struggling and tell them to swim to shore. This may help orientate them
-Reach out with a long object such as a branch, but do not enter the water yourself
-Throw a ringbuoy or any floating object out to them and call 112 for the coast guard.

For more information on IWS and water safety, including lessons you can teach your children and water safety courses available, click here


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