Don’t drink alcohol and swim water safety chiefs warn
THE dangers of mixing alcohol with swimming or sailing has been highlighted by water safety chiefs.
An average 140 people drown in Ireland every year, with alcohol consumption a contributory factor in several cases.
Irish Water Safety (IWS) and drinkaware.ie have warned people to never ever drink and dive, or swim, or sail.
Fionnuala Sheehan, of drinkaware.ie, said the joint campaign ahead of the bank holiday weekend raises awareness of the dangers of drinking alcohol before getting in or going out on the water.
"Over the August Bank Holiday Weekend people will, hopefully, be enjoying some sunshine on beaches and near marinas and on lakes across the country," she said.
"In these scenarios it is easy to let your guard down and forget that you have had a glass of wine at lunch or a few beers in the afternoon.
"It is important that this message is considered not only when getting behind the wheel to drive a car but also when water-based activities are being enjoyed."
Credit-card sized information cards are being distributed to locations throughout the country popular for water based activities detailing that one standard drink is a glass of beer or cider, not a pint, or a small glass of wine.
It also reminds people it takes around one hour for the body to eliminate one standard drink and to work out the maths if drinking and entering the water.
Figures for 2010 showed 112 people drowned in both coastal and inland waters, including 33 accidental deaths, 51 suicides, and 28 undetermined.
The victims included 75 men and 37 women across all age groups.
It was the lowest figure since 1952, and half the peak of 229 in 1994.
John Leech, of IWS, appealed for people to swim at lifeguarded waterways, wear correctly fitting lifejackets on boats, and not to take part in water sports activities without appropriate instruction.
"With an average of 140 people drowning in Ireland every year, it is important to recognise that alcohol can be a contributing factor to these tragedies," he added.