Thinking of taking a dip in somewhere in the Lake County this weekend?
Thinking of getting out and enjoying Westmeath's beautiful waterways and lakes this August bank holiday weekend?
Well, Irish Water Safety is appealing to the public to swim at Lifeguarded waterways and to stay within your depth when swimming.
According to IWS, drownings often happen quickly and silently, with 80% of drownings occurring relatively close to the victim's home.
The range of aquatic activities is extremely varied yet, what is tragically constant each year is the gender most at risk - males, tragically reflected in the fact that of the 122 drownings last year, 91 were male.
Forty-five of the 66 accidental drownings occurred in the 20-59 year age group clearly demonstrating that it is not just children that are at risk.
That said, 30 children aged 14 and under drowned in the last ten years.
August is the most popular month for outdoor swimming which can be enjoyed safely by heeding the following swimming safety tips:
Top Tips for Safe Swimming in August:
Avoid unsupervised areas. Whenever possible, swim in an area that has a lifeguard.
Irish Water Safety has details of all lifeguarded waterways nationwide listed athttp://www.iws.ie/bathing-areas-page.html .
- Watch for changing weather. Be prepared to get out of the water and take cover if the skies look threatening.
- Avoid alcohol. Water sports and alcohol don't mix. Tragically, alcohol is a factor in one third of adult deaths from drowning. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination - all essential for swimming and boating and avoiding hazards in the water.
- Watch children constantly. Children are irresistibly attracted to water. Take the time to protect your children from the dangers of water. Teach them in advance at www.aquaattack.ie.
- In Marine Emergencies, call 112 and ask for the coastguard, or 999 locally.