Play safe with your life – 112 lost to drowning last year
Irish Water Safety has a serious message to everyone enjoying waterways in August – Swim at Lifeguarded Waterways. Irish Water Safety trained Lifeguards will provide all the information and protection you need to stay safe during the busiest month of the year for water-based activities so check for a Lifeguarded waterway near you on www.iws.ie.
The range of aquatic activities is extremely varied yet what is tragically constant each year is the most at risk – males – tragically reflected in the fact that 28 males and 5 females drowned accidentally in 2010.
The danger of accidental drowning is also clearly present for all . In 2010, 5 drowned aged under 24, 5 drowned aged 25-45 and alarmingly 16 people drowned aged 45-65. This clearly demonstrates 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:
- Swim with others, not alone.
- Swim parallel and close to the shore within your depth.
- Never use inflatable toys in open water.
- Never swim out after anything drifting.
- Pay attention to signs on the beach.
- Never swim in the dark or late at night.
- Swim in familiar places, avoid strange places.
- Avoid staying in the water too long.
- Never swim out to sea.
10.Do what the lifeguard tells you – lifeguarded waterways are listed at www.iws.ie.
11.Don’t be a bully
12.Digest food before swimming.
13.Wait a while before swimming if you’re hot or tired.
14.Learn to use equipment before trying it out.
15.Learn resuscitation skills.
Use days of inclement weather that keep children indoors as an ideal opportunity for them to learn all about staying safe by logging onto Irish Water Safety’s website for children, www.aquaattack.ie which contains games, exercises and advice so that children know how to stay safe in, on and around water.
Water-safety advice that will safe life:
Although the number of drownings in 2010, at 112, was the lowest on record since 1952, we will only continue this welcome decline if the following rules, however familiar they seem, are never taken for granted:
Wear a Lifejacket. Find out what device suits your needs at www.iws.ie.
Avoid unsupervised areas. Whenever possible, swim in an area that has a lifeguard. Irish Water Safety has details of all lifeguarded waterways nationwide.
Stay vigilant abroad. The picture-postcard scenes at venues abroad can often mask hidden dangers. Beaches and swimming pools may not be guarded and warning signs may differ. 14 people drowned whilst on holiday abroad in 2010, 17 the year before.
Learn swimming and lifesaving. Irish Water Safety has swimming and lifesaving classes for children and adults. Log on to find one near you at www.iws.ie.
Take lessons when you try a new water sport. Start your lessons before your trip. Be sure you tell a responsible adult where you plan to go.
Never go alone. You’ll be safer and have more fun if you pair up with another adult for water sports. If one of you gets into trouble, the other can help – and call for additional help if necessary. Always wear a Personal Flotation Device.
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 often a factor in adult deaths from drowning or injuries incurred in the water. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination – all essential for swimming and boating well 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.
- Visually Check all lifejackets and buoyancy aids for the following deficiencies:
- Ensure CO2 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, especially the holding down device or crotch strap.
- Check that their lights, if fitted are operating correctly.
- Ensure that Automatic Inflation devices if fitted are fully serviced and in date.
- Check that the valve or lifejacket is not leaking by inflating the lifejacket overnight.
- Discard any faulty lifejackets by destroying them.
In Marine Emergencies, call 112 or 999 and ask for Marine Rescue.