Irish Water Safety urges caution from the public as country enters Phase One
On average, 124 people drown in Ireland each year.
Irish Water Safety has said it is concerned cold water will put lives at risk as the country enters Phase One of the government's Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business.
On average, five people drown in Ireland every fortnight - 124 each year - and cold water is the main factor in most of these drownings.
The shock of cold water immersion and the onset of hypothermia are two factors that will put people at risk when visiting coastlines and inland waterways for their swim.
Irish Water Safety said the lifeguard service is not deployed until the end of the month and for weekends only during June.
It said that people had a responsibility to themselves and their families to stay safe around water by knowing the dangers and learning from previous situations that led to tragic drownings.
People are asked to do the following to remain safe:
- Swimmers are asked to adhere to the government's guidelines on social distancing and stay within 5km of their residence for swimming activities.
- Swimmers should swim parallel and close to the shore and be aware that water temperature, (11 degrees coastal, 14 degrees inland) is still too cold for extended swims.
- Wear a wetsuit and “swim within your depth and stay within your depth”.
- Children require constant uninterrupted supervision near water. Before you go for your swim, take your children through these online resources so that they know what they are getting into.
- Alcohol should be avoided before or during any aquatic activity. On average, a third of drowning victims had consumed alcohol.
- Always wear a lifejacket when on or near water and when angling from shore. Ensure that it is properly maintained and has a correctly fitted crotch strap.
- Those going afloat should carry a portable Marine VHF and/or a personal locator beacon and walkers should carry a mobile phone to call 112 in an emergency.
- In an emergency call 112 and ask for the Coast Guard. Always call early.
You can read Irish Water Safety's guidelines here.