Last year, ten people drowned every month
In launching Irish Water Safety’s Annual Report 2015, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Simon Coveney TD appealed for greater care in, on and near water so that drownings are prevented.
Speaking at the launch on Fountainstown beach in Cork on Monday 22nd August 2016, Minister Coveney expressed regret at the tragic loss of life suffered by so many families last year. “122 people drowned in Ireland last year, equating to ten deaths every month. While it is particularly poignant that 33 of those drownings were suicides, every single drowning is an avoidable tragedy and I appeal to all to take great care when visiting our waterways nationwide.” “Ireland has some of the most wonderful waterways in the world yet drownings can happen quickly, silently and in shallow water which is perhaps most tragically reflected in the fact that thirty children aged fourteen and under downed in the last ten years,” continued Mr Coveney, “instilling a healthy respect for our aquatic environments at a young age and giving children the skills they need to stay safe in water is key to preventing drownings in the long term.”
In launching its report, Minister Coveney pointed to some of the advice issued by Irish Water Safety:
- Supervise children at all times near water – 30 children aged 14 and under drowned in the last ten years.
- Swim at lifeguarded waterways – listed at www.iws.ie
- Swim with others, never alone, in recognised, traditionally safe bathing areas.
- Swim within your depth, parallel and close to shore.
- Never use inflatable toys in open water or swim out after anything drifting.
- Never swim in the dark or late at night.
- Avoid staying in the water for extended periods as you risk hypothermia.
- Train for your aquatic activity at www.safetyzone.ie
- Wear a lifejacket when on the water and make sure that it has a correctly fitting crotch strap.
- Watch for changing weather. Be prepared to get out of the water and take cover if the skies look threatening.
- Learn swimming and lifesaving skills, available nationwide for all ages through IWS.
- Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination, all of which are essential for swimming and boating.
- In Marine Emergencies, call 112 and ask for the coastguard.