Eleven tips for swimmers to stay safe during warm weather

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As a warm weather spell continues across Ireland, Water Safety Ireland has issued advice to help swimmers stay safe from drowning.

The appeal comes in the aftermath of the tragic death of a teenage boy who got into difficulty while swimming in Co. Dublin last week.

An average of nine people drown every month nationwide and Water Safety Ireland is urging the public to be mindful of the following advice during the current spell of warm weather.

Advice to swimmers

1. Swim within your depth and stay within your depth.

2. Swim between the red and yellow flags at a Lifeguarded waterway, listed at
www.watersafety.ie/lifeguards. Otherwise swim in areas that are known locally as safe and where there are ringbuoys present for rescues.

3. Avoid swimming in unfamiliar areas that are potentially unsafe. Ask for local knowledge to determine local hazards and safest areas to swim. Pay attention to any safety signage.

4. Make sure that the water’s edge is shallow shelving so that you can safely enter and exit.

5. The air temperature is warm but open water is cooler than air – avoid extended stays in the water as your muscles will cool, making swimming more difficult.

6. Never use inflatable toys in open water as a gentle breeze can quickly bring a person away from shore.

7. Always supervise children closely and never leave them alone near water.

8. Alcohol is a factor in one third of drownings. Do not mix it with water activities.

9. To escape a rip current, swim parallel to the shore and then swim back ashore. See www.watersafety.ie/rip-currents/

10. If you see somebody in trouble in the water: SHOUT – REACH – THROW a. SHOUT to calm, encourage and orientate them; b. REACH with anything that prevents you from entering the water (clothing/stick); c. THROW a ringbuoy or any floating object to them.

11. When boating, always wear a correctly fitting lifejacket and have to hand a VHF radio and a fully charged mobile phone in a waterproof pouch.