Swimmers urged to take care over bank holiday weekend

Irish Water Safety warns that four out of five drownings occur close to victim’s home

Swimmers have been warned that drowning risks increase during bank holiday weekends. Photograph: Alan Betson

Swimmers have been warned that drowning risks increase during bank holiday weekends. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Swimmers have been urged to take care over the June Bank Holiday weekend due to increased risks of drowning associated with cold waters, as well as the use of alcohol.

Irish Water Safety (IWS) said people should not swim for extended periods at present as drownings could happen due to hypothermia in waters that remain cold.

The organisation said drowning risks increase during bank holiday weekends with alcohol present in a third of drowning victims.

Some 62 per cent of drownings occur inland with four out of five of such incidents occurring close to the victim’s home.

IWS also urged people to supervise children at all times near water. It said 30 children aged 14 and under had drowned in a decade.

Swimmers should also swim with others and 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,” IWS said.

People engaged in aquatic activities should also wear a life jacket when on or near the water and make sure it had a correctly fitting crotch strap.

The organisation said alcohol impairs judgment, balance and co-ordination - all of which are essential for swimming and boating and avoiding hazards in the water.

In marine emergencies, people should call 112 and ask for the coastguard.