IF YOU decide to go for a dip in the water this summer, make sure you take heed of advisory signs.
This is the emphatic message from Irish Water Safety and Wexford County Council as the summer season begins in earnest.
'The main message to everyone would be to stay safe and be careful where they swim,' said Tom Doyle, Water Safety Officer with Wexford County Council. 'They should observe notices on any beach or where they want to swim, and also observe the Lifeguard's rules and regulations, and don't swim in strange places.'
He also emphasised the importance of ring buoys as a stolen ring buoy could lead to a stolen life. 'We have over 300 ring buoys situated throughout the county,' he said. 'They are an important asset to have in any situation. They are very important in attempts at rescue.'
He said that the Council has an excellent system of inspecting, supervising and maintaining ring buoys. Each one has its own number and GPS position. 'If we get a report one is missing, we know where the box is and we replace the buoy,' he explained. 'This system is definitely one of the best in the country.' A phone number written on each box allows the public to report missing buoys, and the boxes are also regularly checked.
'The ring buoys have saved lives and do save lives,' he said. 'They are a very important aspect to any aquatic environment and I would appeal to people not to interfere with them.'
He said that anyone who sees someone in difficulty in the water should summon help immediately. 'Don't put yourself in any danger whatsoever,' he said. He advised anyone who is witness to an emergency situation to get professional help and to phone 999 or 112.