IRISH Water Safety has enlisted the help of Olympic rowers Paul and Gary O’Donovan in their latest campaign to urge safety along our coasts and inland waterways.
The number of drownings last year reached 123, more than 10 every month. As this is National Water Safety Awareness Week, Irish Water Safety has appealed to the public to avoid summer drowning tragedies by making water safety part of the conversation.
Drownings can happen quickly and silently so they urged water users to swim at Lifeguarded waterways; swim with others, never alone; swim close and parallel to shore, within your depth; avoid sudden immersion in cold water; watch out for submerged hidden hazards; ask locally about dangerous currents; supervise children always; never use inflatable toys in open water – they can drift out beyond your comfort zone; when walking the shoreline watch out that you don’t get trapped by incoming tides; and always wear a lifejacket when boating or angling.
The vast majority of drownings last year, 82, were accidental. Drownings by suicide were 29, and 12 were of ‘undetermined cause’. Accidental drownings typically occur when people overestimate their own ability and underestimate the risk, and 80% of accidental drownings were male.
According to the IWS, of concern is the tendency for some parents to leave children unattended at Lifeguarded waterways. Last year, 663 children were found lost and unaccompanied beside the water.
The O’Donovans have recorded video and audio adverts for the campaign, explaining how they grew up with water having a huge impact on their lives, and they are aware of the respect due to it.