Warning

People entering water need to take precautions

National Water Safety Awareness Week

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Be safe in Longford's waterways this weekend

Be careful if you're swimming during this warm spell.

Swimmers and bathers are being urged to take all necessary precautions when swimming during the upcoming good weather.

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring T.D., who has responsibility for water safety, made the call during National Water Safety Awareness Week and ahead of what is expected to be a sustained period of warm weather.

Minister Ring said: “The warm weather draws many people to the open water, some of whom are not used to swimming in this environment.  The unfortunate reality is that incidences of drowning increase greatly during warm weather.

“Water tragedies can be prevented by people taking basic precautions including staying within their depth; ensuring children are adequately supervised; and swimming where lifeguards are on duty or in safe swimming areas where ring-buoys are present. People should not enter the water after consuming alcohol which is a factor in one third of all drownings.”

Irish Water Safety’s Drowning Prevention Strategy launched last month and aims to halve the number of drowning fatalities within 10 years.

Minister Ring added: “The increased vigilance of the public will help in achieving this goal. Irish Water Safety have issued practical advice on how to stay safe near water and on how to save the life of someone who is in difficulty in the water. I urge people to visit www.iws.ie to inform themselves of the dangers of open water, and on how to enjoy the water while staying safe.

“Our waters are a wonderful resource but, on average, 133 people lose their lives on them every year. Every loss of life is a tragedy which can devastate loved ones, families and communities.  Let’s all take a sensible approach this weekend around water.”