Water Safety & Drowning Prevention
An Important Message from John Doyle
Over 700 people drown in the UK and Ireland every year and drowning is one of the highest cause of accidental deaths in children.
Open Water Swimming
For many, the transition from pool to open water can be a daunting one, but with some simple safety steps the delights of the great outdoors are closer than you think.
If you are not swimming in a patrolled area, make sure you always swim with a buddy and that people know what time to expect you back. Plan your swim before you leave and take into account currents and tides. When trying to find a location to swim it’s a good idea to find other open water swimmers from the area, there are a multitude of Facebook groups as well as social groups and swimming clubs across the country. Local knowledge is so important while trying to find a good safe swim spot and you may find some fellow swimmers to tag along with.
Enter the water slowly and let your body acclimatise, getting into cooler water too quickly can result in reduced blood flow to your limbs and an automatic increase in your breathing rate. Jumping in might seem like fun but you risk cold water shock and hitting objects under the surface by not getting in gradually.
Remember the 4 reasons people drown or get into difficulty and need rescue
1. Lack of education:
Inflatable toys are not made to be used in the open water environment. With them being so light they are overly affected by wind and waves, they can quickly bring people out of their depth
2. Lack of safety advice and protection:
When going to an open water site find out as much as you can about that environment. (tide times, currents, sea conditions, weather forecast, any hidden objects under the water)
3. Lack of safety supervision:
Always swim between the red and yellow flags where lifeguards patrol. Follow the directions of the lifeguard. RNLI/RLSS lifeguards are highly trained. They know what they are talking about.
4. Inability to cope:
This is in two parts, the person drowning and the person rescuing. Your ability to cope during a rescue is important. Parents need to learn basic lifesaving skills 50 percent of those who drown went into the water to help. For swimmers know you limits!!
The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) Membership Magazine – Lifesavers is available online.
Inflatable toys present a drowning risk. Do NOT use in Open Water!
The RLSS Ireland Branch, Irish Coast Guard, and the RNLI, are appealing to the public to be mindful of the dangers and drowning risks associated with the use of inflatable toys in open water. They are calling on parents and guardians never to allow inflatable toys to be used at rivers, lakes or beaches as the devices are vulnerable to the slightest breeze or current and can take a child away from shore and into danger. Equally the temporary loss of the inflatable could attract children or adults to try and retrieve them from the water and thereby put themselves and others into a life-threatening situation.
A Few Reminders
The RLSS UK has updated it software system to a new system called tahdah. Each member will have to log into this new system and create a new user ID and password. Each members qualifications should be ported to this new system. Click on this link to activate your account.
John is hoping to hold two summer Lifesaving Beach Courses in August. He will decide by the end of June. Courses will be subject to the HSE COVID-19 guidelines.
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