Launch of the Annual Report 2015

We had the honour of hosting Irish Water Safety's launch of their Annual Report 2015 at Fountainstown Beach, Co. Cork. The total number of drownings in Ireland in 2015 was 122...

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Pictured at the launch of the Annual Report 2015, from left to right: Deputy CEO of Irish Water Safety (IWS), Roger Sweeney; PRO of Cork Water Safety (CWS), Graham Kerr; Secretary of CWS, Celine Hyde; Chairperson of CWS, Siobhán Bradley; Chairman of IWS, Martin O'Sullivan; Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Simon Coveney TD; CEO of IWS, John Leech; Hon. Treasurer of CWS, Paul Burke; Water Safety Development Officer for Cork City Council, Stephen Scully; WSDO for Cork County Council, Caroline Casey; and Deirdre Kearney  from the Housing Dept. in Dublin.

Minister Simon Coveney TD

Last year, ten people drowned every month - 1,329 in the last ten years.

"Please be alert in, on and near water as drownings happen quickly and silently"

That was the appeal of the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Simon Coveney TD in launching Irish Water Safety's Annual Report 2015 at Fountainstown beach in Cork on Monday 22nd August 2016. You can access the full report by clicking on the picture below:

Annual Report

Minister Coveney expressed regret at the tragic loss of life suffered by so many families last year:

“122 people drowned in Ireland last year, equating to ten deaths every month. While it is particularly poignant that 33 of those drownings were suicides, every single drowning is an avoidable tragedy and I appeal to all to take great care when visiting our waterways nationwide.”

“Ireland has some of the most wonderful waterways in the world yet drownings can happen quickly, silently and in shallow water which is perhaps most tragically reflected in the fact that thirty children aged fourteen and under downed in the last ten years,” continued Mr Coveney, “instilling a healthy respect for our aquatic environments at a young age and giving children the skills they need to stay safe in water is key to preventing drownings in the long term.”

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Chairman of IWS, Martin O’Sullivan (on right) discussing drowning prevention issues with the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Simon Coveney TD at Fountainstown beach, Co Cork.

Chairman Martin O'Sullivan

New Chairman for IWS, Martin O'Sullivan, appealed for schools to help prevent child drownings.

“30 children drowned in ten years yet curriculum remains largely untaught”

At the launch, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Simon Coveney TD announced the appointment of Martin O’Sullivan as Chairman of Irish Water Safety, the statutory and voluntary body established to promote water safety. The new Chairman explained that:

“The winter series of classes run by our volunteers for children and adults nationwide complement the water safety curriculum that we developed for primary schools. Thirty children aged fourteen and under drowned in the last ten years so I appeal to schools to teach water safety in the classroom so that children learn good habits.”

“I fear that many children lack an awareness of how to stay safe when playing near aquatic environments because just over 10% of the 3,305 schools nationwide participated in the Primary Aquatics Water Safety (PAWS) curriculum last year. We are deeply grateful to those schools that issued over 50,000 certificates” continued Mr. Sullivan, “and I am appealing to the other 90% of schools, teachers and indeed parents to adopt the water safety programme in the school year ahead. Even an hour of classroom based instruction by the schoolteacher will give children essential safety advice and it is all freely available at www.iws.ie.

“Our volunteers are influencing a cultural shift in the safety consciousness of both children and adults in, on and around water. We now need more schools and parents to instil a healthy respect for our wonderful aquatic environments that in turn encourages both adults and children to embrace water based activities safely.”

The video below is of Mr. O'Sullivan's interview with Morning Ireland on RTE Radio 1, in which he pleads with primary schools to teach the "Primary Aquatics Water Safety" curriculum and so help reduce child drownings (30 children drowned in the last ten years).

Advice

In launching the report, Minister Coveney pointed to some of the advice issued by Irish Water Safety:

  1. Supervise children at all times near water - 30 children aged fourteen and under drowned in the last ten years.
  2.  Swim at lifeguarded waterways - listed at www.iws.ie
  3. Swim with others, never alone, in recognised, traditionally safe bathing areas.
  4. Swim within your depth, parallel and close to shore.
  5. Never use inflatable toys in open water or swim out after anything drifting.
  6. Never swim in the dark or late at night.
  7. Avoid staying in the water for extended periods as you risk hypothermia.
  8. Train for your aquatic activity at www.safetyzone.ie
  9. Wear a lifejacket when on the water and make sure that it has a correctly fitting crotch strap.
  10. Watch for changing weather. Be prepared to get out of the water and take cover if the skies look threatening.
  11. Learn swimming and lifesaving skills, available nationwide for all ages through IWS.
  12. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination, all of which are essential for swimming and boating.
  13. In Marine Emergencies, call 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.
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