Sandycove, Co Dublin, a popular beach and swimming area for Dubliners

Water Safety Ireland is appealing to people to swim at lifeguarded waterways this weekend as the risk of drownings is higher due to a new moon and cool waters. A new moon is not night; it is not in the sky at night as it rises and sets with the sun. The only visibility is a ‘waxing crescent’ immediately after sun set or a ‘waning crescent’ just before the sun rises.

A new moon causes strong rip currents that can quickly take a person away from shore. Survival time in such scenarios is greatly reduced due to the cooler water temperatures that have not yet warmed up sufficiently for extended swims. Lifeguards are trained to spot these currents and keep people away from danger.

The lifeguard season begins this bank-holiday weekend. Lifeguards administered first-aid more than 4,000 times in 21018 and have located three hundred lost children and have rescued over 300 people nationwide.

Always swim within your depth and stay within your depth.

Low tide dangers

Stranding will also be a risk for many walkers as lower tides will expose even greater areas of the coastline. Walkers should always carry a mobile phone to call 112 in an emergency.

Parents should provide constant uninterrupted supervision; 30 children aged under 14 have drowned in the past ten years.

If going afloat, always wear a lifejacket and carry a portable Marine VHF and/or a personal locator beacon. If you have not used your lifejacket or buoyancy aid since last year, the following checks should be made:

  • ensure CO2 cartridges have not been punctured and are firmly secured
  • ensure all zips, buckles, fasteners and webbing straps are functioning correctly
  • check that fitted lights are operating correctly
  • check that the valve or lifejacket is not leaking by inflating the lifejacket overnight or immersing it in water checking for air bubbles
  • always use your crotch strap when fitting your lifejacket
  • destroy all faulty lifejackets