'Never use inflatable toys in open water' - Bank holiday weekend warning as 49 people drown this year
Some forty-nine people have drowned in Irish waters this year so far, Irish Water Safety (IWS) have revealed.
Alcohol is said to be a factor in one third of drownings, according to IWS.
Of the 109 drownings last year, 84 were male and 25 were female, with 80pc of drownings taking place in the home county of the victim.
"Males overestimate their skills and competencies and underestimate the risk and danger," IWS said.
Since June 1, lifeguards across the country have rescued 149 people during the hot weather and busy beach season.
Some 1,189 were administered first-aid and 113 lost children were reunited with worried parents.
Lifeguards usually man beaches on weekends but as a result of the extended spell of sunshine, local authorities extended their cover to include weekdays.
Ahead of the long weekend, IWS are urging members of the public to take extra care along the coast.
"Never use inflatable toys in open water or swim out after anything drifting," IWS said.
"Supervise children at all times near water - 30 people aged 14 and under drowned in a decade."
IWS also encourage people to swim within their depth and to swim with others in areas that are traditionally recognised as safe.
- Read more: Irish Water Safety's top five tips for safe summer swimming
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