Irish Water Safety is appealing to the public to swim at Lifeguarded waterways and to stay within their depth when swimming at any other bathing areas. Drownings often happen quickly and silently with 80% of drownings occurring close to the victim’s home.
The range of aquatic activities is extremely varied yet what is tragically constant each year is the gender most at risk – males – tragically reflected in the fact that of the 147 drownings last year, 113 were male and 34 female*.
An alarming 47% of accidental drownings occurred in the 30-59 year age group clearly demonstrating that regardless of age, one is never too old to learn how to stay safe around water.**
August is the most popular month for outdoor swimming which can be enjoyed safely by heeding the following swimming safety tips:
Top Tips for Safe Swimming in August:
Swim at lifeguarded waterways – listed at www.iws.ie.
Swim with others in recognized, traditional, safe bathing areas. Many beaches have warm waters in the high teens to twenties at present and are ideal for swimming however please swim in areas that are known locally to be safe.
Swim within your depth, parallel and close to shore and stay within your depth.
Never use inflatable toys in open water or swim out after anything drifting.
Pay attention to signs on the beach.
Never swim in the dark or late at night.
Avoid staying in the water too long.
Wait a while before swimming if you’re hot or tired.
Learn to use equipment before trying it out.
Learn resuscitation skills.
Water-safety advice that will safe life:
Drownings will decline if the following rules, however familiar they seem, are never taken for granted:
– Wear a Lifejacket. Find out what device suits your needs athttp://www.iws.ie/guides-page24421.html .
– Avoid unsupervised areas. Whenever possible, swim in an area that has a lifeguard. Irish Water Safety has details of all lifeguarded waterways nationwide listed athttp://www.iws.ie/bathing-areas-page.html .
– Learn swimming and lifesaving. Irish Water Safety has swimming and lifesaving classes for children and adults. Log on to find one near you athttp://www.iws.ie/courses–jobs-page.html#Courses .
– Watch for changing weather. Be prepared to get out of the water and take cover if the skies look threatening.
– Avoid alcohol. Water sports and alcohol don’t mix. Tragically, alcohol is a factor in one third of adult deaths from drowning. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination – all essential for swimming and boating and avoiding hazards in the water.
– Watch children constantly. Children are irresistibly attracted to water. Take the time to protect your children from the dangers of water. Teach them in advance at www.aquaattack.ie.
– In Marine Emergencies, call 112 and ask for the coastguard.
* Total Drownings: 147 65 Accidental, 49 Suicide, 33 Undetermined
Female: 13 Accidental; 13 Suicide; 8 Undetermined
** Accidental Drownings by Age: 0-19:7; 20-29:7; 30-39:11; 40-49:8; 50-59:12; 60-69:14; 70-79:4