Tuesday 23 January 2018

Watch: RNLI release hard-hitting video as part of national drowning prevention campaign

Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

The RNLI have released a hard-hitting video to highlight the danger of our waters as part of a national drowning prevention campaign.

'The Breathe Test' which invites viewers to hold their breath for the length of the video aims to raise awareness around the unpredictability of coastlines and waters in Ireland.

The video is part of a larger campaign #RespectTheWater which will run on radio, outdoor and online will. Two 60 second ads will also be screened in Irish cinemas over the next eight weeks.

An average of 59 people die in Irish waters every year, according to the RNLI, which is more than the number killed on our roads annually.

Last year alone, 55 people died by accidental drowning in Irish waterways.

However, the charity's lifeboat crews saved 36 lives and rescued 1,133 in 2014, revealing that the number of those getting into danger is actually a lot higher.

'Breathe' is shown from the point of view of the casualty, played by an actor, who struggles and succumbs to the effects of cold water shock in the time the audience is holding their breath.

The film reveals that, on land, the average person can hold their breath for 45 seconds – but in cold water, they might not last 10.

A second film called 'Unpredictable' is again shown from the perspective of a 'casualty' shows the unpredictability of the water and how quickly conditions can turn.

Both films have received a 15 age rating and carry a warning that viewers may find some of the scenes distressing.

"We're warning people that if they're going near the water, whatever their activity, they could be at risk and they need to take care," Joe Moore, RNLI Coastal Safety Manager for Ireland, said.

"A large number of incidents which happen each year involve people who never even intended to enter the water – slips and falls while walking or running are very common. Unexpected dangers like slippery rocks, sudden waves or unstable ground can catch anyone out.

"We want people to enjoy the water but to make sure they respect it. On average 59 lives are lost around the coast of the Republic of Ireland each year but many of these losses could be avoided if people acknowledge the dangers and follow some basic safety advice," he added.

Those interested in finding out more about the dangers of the coast can visit the Respect the Water website and see for themselves at www.rnli.org/respectthewater

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