Life jackets vital around water: watchdog
Life jackets should be worn at all times when in or around boats, the Water Safety watchdog has warned.
John Leech, chairman of Irish Water Safety, has revealed his organisation's struggle to get people to wear the potentially life-saving devices on the waterways, with a compliance rate of only about 60pc.
Self-inflating life jackets are seen by many as being more safe than basic models - however he warned that about 70pc of such devices are found to be defective when tested.
They should be maintained, packed properly and tested every time like parachutes - but they hardly ever are, he said.
Statistics show that 30pc of drowning victims have consumed alcohol, Mr Leech pointed out, adding that anyone going ashore to consume alcohol should always ensure that they are wearing their life jacket on the way back.
Irish Water Safety says that if there is an accident and someone falls in to water, do not follow them in but instead instruct them to kick their legs and throw a ring buoy and pull them slowly ashore, while reassuring them.
Mr Leech warned particular attention should be paid to children around water, saying: "We do not want to lose any children this Easter," with even water collection tanks posing a potential threat.