More than 400 people turned out to enjoy an afternoon of learning about how to be safer in the water at the Community Policing Unit’s Water Safety Awareness Day in Greystones Harbour on June 26.
People attending the event watched demonstrations and listened to talks from Wicklow’s safety experts. CPR practice and training in life buoy tossing were some of the most popular events on offer.
One of the event organizers, Garda Molly Corbett, was delighted with the return of such an important day in the Greystones calendar.
“This is our third water safety event," she said. “In 2019 we switched it up and had an Emergency Services day in Eir Óg away from the harbour. Covid then hit, so it is an annual event just with a few years missing.”
Gda Corbett also explained exactly what the organisers wanted visitors to gain from attending the event, especially in a time where open water swimming has become so popular.
“The key message was awareness and safety around the sea, such as getting warm after your swim and the location of the AEDs around the coast if they are needed,” Gda Corbett said.
“It was also about awareness of what exactly your local emergency services have at their disposal. We had the Civil Defence, Coast Guard and RNLI there showing off what services they have to help people.”
Due to the success of this year's Greystones Water Safety Awareness Day, Garda Corbett and other organisers have already put plans in place to maintain the annual tradition..
“It is going to be an annual event, no doubt,” she stressed. “Whether it is a water safety day at the harbour or a larger emergency services day next year, we are not really sure yet, but it will definitely be an annual event.”
If you get into trouble yourself or see anyone in difficulty in or on the water, call 112 or 999 and ask for the Coast Guard. If you are in the water on a lifeguarded beach, raise your arm with a closed fist, or if you can’t do that roll over on to your back and float. A lifeguard will come to you.
If you are going out on the water in a vessel, always check the weather and tides first, always wear a life jacket and always tell someone where you are going and bring a means of communicating with the emergency services.
If you are going into the water, choose a lifeguarded beach, check weather and tides first, always bring someone with you and swim parallel to shore, never use inflatable toys and make sure you have extra layers to warm up properly afterwards.