Sunday, July 25, 2021

Olivia Kelleher

Water Safety Ireland (WSI) has appealed to the public to be vigilant in the water during spells of warm weather and to have a conversation around safety on Sunday to mark UN World Drowning Prevention Day.

The WSI says the recent hot weather has increased the risk of drowning. They are asking persons taking to the beach or engaging in water-based activities to swim within their depth and to stay within their depth.

“Many people are swimming for the first time this year and have not had swimming classes for more than 15 months,” the WSI said.

“Swim at a Lifeguarded waterway, otherwise, swimming areas that are known locally as safe and where there are ring buoys present for rescues. Make sure that the water’s edge is shallow shelving so that you can safely enter and exit.”

Water temperature

The WSI said that whilst the air temperature is warm, open water is cooler: “Avoid extended stays in the water as your muscles will cool, making swimming more difficult.”

The public are also advised not to use inflatable toys in open water as a gentle breeze can quickly bring a person away from shore.

Parents are asked to supervise children closely and never leave them alone at garden paddling pools and to wear a life jacket when on or near water.

WSI added that alcohol is a factor in one third of drownings.

Yearly drownings

Ireland averages ten drownings every month. In the decade to 2020, drowning was responsible for 1,151 deaths in Ireland and over 2.5 million preventable deaths worldwide.

Meanwhile, the ESB has issued a safety warning about the dangerous and potentially serious consequences of swimming in any ESB reservoir.

In a statement the ESB stressed: “These areas are not appropriate for swimming because of the risk of deep and fast-flowing waters, changing water levels and uneven ground.”

These waters include the reservoirs at Poulaphouca in Co Wicklow, Golden Falls and Leixlip in Co Kildare, Inniscarra and Carrigadrohid in Co Cork, the Ardnacrusha headrace and tailrace canal in Co Clare and Assaroe, Lough Nacung and Lough Dunlewey in Co Donegal.

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