Water safety appeal as temperatures set to soar over June Bank Holiday weekend

Leitrim Observer Reporter

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Leitrim Observer Reporter

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Irish Water Safety is urging people to be mindful of the dangers while using waterways this weekend.

Following the tragic deaths of two 15 year old boys in Ennis yesterday, Irish Water Safety is appealing to the public to take care when swimming over the June Bank Holiday weekend.

62% of all drownings occur at inland water sites. Water temperature is 16° Celsius and less in many inland sites and is 13° and less at sea. So even though the air temperatures may be very warm, the reality is that water can still be extremely cold and Cold Shock is the greatest contributing factor to drowning on our island nation.

Here is some important safety advice if you are entering the water this Bank Holiday weekend:

1. Swim at Designated Bathing Areas.
2. If there is no Designated Bathing Area near you then swim at known traditional bathing areas where there are ringbuoys erected that you can use if somebody gets in to difficulty.
3. Swim within your depth – stay within your depth.
4. Use local knowledge to determine local hazards and safest areas to swim.
5. Always ensure that the ringbuoy is in its yellow box before entering the water.
6. Make sure that the edges are shallow shelving so that you can safely and easily enter and exit the water.
7. Wear a wet suit if you are not used to the cold water.
8. Stay away from the water's edge after you consume alcohol as 30% of all drowning victims have consumed alcohol.

The majority of drownings, 62%, 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.

Simple steps to save a life

If you see someone in difficulty, these simple steps may save a life:
A. Shout to the casualty and encourage them to shore. This may orientate them just enough.
B. Reach out with a long object such a branch or a piece of clothing but do not enter the water yourself as you may also get into difficulty.
C. Throw a ringbuoy or any floating object and call 112 for the coast guard.