Lifeguard rescues soared in last month’s heatwave

Figures confirm July was one of the warmest months on record

Lifeguards rescued 559 swimmers from beaches, rivers and lakes during last month’s heatwave. This was 160 more than for the entire bathing season last year. Some 575 lost children were reunited with their parents, 250 more than last year.

The figures were released yesterday as the Met office confirmed July was one of the warmest months on record.

Thirteen people drowned while swimming in July.

Prompt action by lifeguards prevented another 11,421 accidents, while 1,506 people were assisted in other circumstances.


Chief executive of Irish Water Safety John Leech has urged the public to use local authority bathing places, manned by lifeguards, to ensure there are no more tragedies for the rest of the summer.

“Take heed of advice given by the lifeguards and supervise your children,’’ Mr Leech added. “Lifeguards are not baby sitters.’’

A total of 3,848 people were given first aid, while 3,4270 people were given safety advice.

The figures were particularly high in some areas with easy access to the sea, although in Donegal they were relatively low compared to other counties. Seventeen people were rescued from water, 13 from a craft and 180 were given first aid.

In Kerry, 63 people were rescued from the water and 151 from a craft, 833 people were given first aid, 197 children reunited with their parents, 2,931 people given safety advice and 949 accidents prevented.

In Clare, 9,958 people were given safety advice,. Sixty-seven people were rescued from water and 29 from a craft, while 884 people received first aid.

Twenty-four people were rescued from water and 65 from a craft in Sligo, with 374 people receiving first aid, 34 lost children reunited with parents, 1734 given advice and 290 accidents prevented.

Lifeguards in Mayo gave advice to 8,570 people and prevented 2,531 accidents, while seven people were rescued from water and four from a craft.

In Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, 3,100 people were advised on safety and 930 accidents prevented, while 12 people were rescued from water and one from a craft.

There were no water or craft rescues in Wexford, while 186 people received first aid, 16 children reunited with families and 824 people given advice.

July was one of the warmest months on record, but August is certainly not heading that way.

The glorious July weather seems already to be a distant memory. It was gloriously hot and sunny for the most part.

Valentia Observatory in Co Kerry, one of the country’s oldest weather stations, recorded its hottest July since records began there in 1892.

The average temperature, at 17 degrees Celsius was a full two degrees above the July average.

It was the warmest July on record at stations in the west, southwest, midlands and parts of Dublin with records exceeded stretching back 63 years.

There was drought conditions everywhere until July 21st when thunderstorms broke the long dry spell.

In Dunsany, Co Meath, on July 25th, 33.5mms of rain (almost an inch and a half) fell in just an hour, an event that is likely to happen only once in 50 years. The highest temperature of the month was recorded at Ardfert, Co Kerry, on with a temperature of 30.3C.

The start of August looks like carrying on from the end of July. It will remain warm with highs of 22 degrees today, but showery. Saturday will be dry for the most part, but it will be unsettled for the foreseeable future.

Michael O'Regan

Michael O'Regan

Michael O’Regan is a former parliamentary correspondent of The Irish Times