With more wet weather forecast for the Bank Holiday weekend, The Royal Life Saving Society has warned that drowning tragedies may increase unless people take extra care when in, on or near water. This weekend is traditionally a peak time for drownings, and Government figures show that on average thirteen people drown each month in Ireland. Particular hazards this weekend include the possibility of flash flooding in places due to heavy rain.
Spokesman David Browne said: “We are now at the time of year when many tragic drownings occur. The August Bank holiday weekend in particular is when drownings peak. It is vital that people understand that water in this country remains extremely cold, even in very hot weather, and there are strong currents and hidden hazards, which can pull you down.
“Most of the victims are swimmers who overestimate their capabilities. They often die within a couple of minutes of entering the water and quite close to shore.
“The August Bank Holiday is also when many water-sports and boating enthusiasts take to the water. By taking a few basic safety measures and wearing working lifejackets, they can ensure a safe day on the water. Anglers and those fishing from beaches and rocks should also take safety precautions and wear a lifejacket.”
The Society has produced a four point Water Safety Code
• Spot the Dangers – Water can be dangerous, be aware of currents, deep water and the cold.
• Take Safety Advice – Ask lifeguards or local people with specific knowledge about the area
• Don’t Go in Alone – Always swim with someone else, and on a supervised beach
• Learn How to Help – Why not take lifesaving lessons at your local pool.
If you see someone in difficulties in the water dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.