Irish Water Safety is appealing to the public to take care when swimming during this spate of warm weather.
Temperatures have began to soar and people are taking to the beaches in their droves. Children are swimming, people are diving into the ocean, kayaks are on rivers and on lakes and activity on water is at a maximum.
Over sixty per cent of all drownings occur at inland water sites. Water temperature is 16° celsius and less in many inland sites and is 13° celsius and less at sea.
Cold shock is the greatest contributing factor to drowning in Ireland.
People are being urged to swim at designated bathing areas and to remember that there are no lifeguards on duty yet.
If there is no designated bathing area near you, please swim at a known traditional bathing area where there are ring buoys erected that you can use if somebody gets in to difficulty.
- People are being urged to swim within their depth and use local knowledge to determine local hazards and safest areas to swim
- Always ensure that the ringbuoy is in its yellow box before entering the water
- Make sure that the edges are shallow shelving so that you can safely and easily enter and exit the water
- Wear a wet suit if you are not used to the cold water
- Stay away from the edge after you consume alcohol as 30 per cent of all drowned victims have consumed alcohol.
Bathing season runs from June 1st to September 15th.
The majority of drownings, sixty two per cent, occur inland where river and lake beds can be difficult to see and therefore extremely difficult to determine if you are swimming within your depth. The onset of cramp, combined with the panicked realisation that you are out of your depth can have tragic consequences and be compounded further by the muscle cooling effect of longer periods in open water.
If you see someone in difficulty, these simple steps may save a life:
- Shout to the casualty and encourage them to shore. This may orientate them just enough.
- Reach out with a long object such a branch or a piece of clothing but do not enter the water yourself.
- Throw a ringbuoy or any floating object and call 112 for the coast guard.