Friday 23 August 2019

Water Safety: Top five tips for safe summer swimming

Irish Water Safety say children need supervision at all times near water
Irish Water Safety say children need supervision at all times near water
Rachel Farrell

Rachel Farrell

As Ireland prepares for more sunny spells and hot weather, people are more likely to cool off with dips in the seas, rivers and lakes. However, there are some steps you should take to stay safe.

Here are Irish Water Safety's top tips for keeping safe in the water.

Inexperienced swimmers should swim "within their depth"

"The main message is to swim within your depth, stay within your depth and swim parallel to the shore. Then if you do feel sick or unwell or dizzy, you can just drop your feet and wade back onto the bank," said John Leech, CEO of Irish Water Safety.

Swim in designated swimming areas

"As much as possible, swim in designated bathing areas, like for instance Salthill where they can dive and jump off the boards where they're being looked after carefully by lifeguards that are trained up to the best international practice. 

"Then, thing don’t tend to go wrong. It's when they go off on their own unsupervised is when the trouble starts and unfortunately, they're out of their depth."

Wear a life jacket

"We want people going kayaking, sailing and angling particularly to wear a life jacket. It's really important to wear a life jacket no matter what you're doing. 

"Although it can be sometimes quite hot and sometimes people feel a little uncomfortable when it gets very hot especially in the midlands, but please leave your life jacket on.

"Your body will be very hot and susceptible to cold shock. Cold shock is the main contributing factor to drownings in our temperate climate."

Keep paddling pools supervised at all times

"We're very much against paddling pools because unfortunately parents have the best will in the world, may have a drink or a barbecue, and the phone rings or whatever and they get distracted.

"Young children drown in seconds, 20-40 seconds they'll be gone. Drowning is silent, so you won't hear them." 

Avoid inflatables 

"Don't use inflatable toys, they're absolutely lethal. I see them for sale in local supermarkets. The coast guard often rescue people out in Donegal bay, miles off shore, sitting in these inflatables because they've gotten blown away with off shore winds."

READ MORE: Taking the plunge: My dip at the Forty Foot following the bathing ban

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