Irish Water Safety issue swimming warning ahead of good weather and dangerous tides

NewsBy Shuki Byrne
People enjoying the good weather at Portmarnock Beach yesterday
People enjoying the good weather at Portmarnock Beach yesterday

Irish Water Safety have issued a warning in anticipation of good weather and dangerous high tides in the coming days.

IWS are appealing to the Irish public to be aware of the dangers of swimming and bathing in the coming days in anticipation of changing tides. 

CEO of Irish Water Safety John Leech is warning the public that there is a full moon tomorrow  (2 July) which is causing high spring tides which poses a higher risk of being washed in to the sea or being dragged out to sea by a rip current.

The full moon, combined with high temperatures in many places of the country, mean the risk of people drowning in the coming days is higher. 

"Walkers should remain alert and stay well away from the edge of ordinarily familiar coastal walks due to the risk being washed in by large Atlantic swells," he said.  

"Those walking on our beaches and collecting sea shells should be alert to a fast advancing tide and of being stranded. Please carry your mobile phone and ideally in the company of others.

"Anglers should be extremely vigilant, three having drowned so far this year. Atlantic swells present a clear danger to shoreline anglers and a substantial distance from the edge should be maintained at all times and always wear a life-jacket.

"Swimmers be aware of rip currents, especially on surfing beaches, never swim against this narrow current of water flowing away from a beach. Instead, swim parallel to the shore, out of the narrow current, then swim back to shore at an angle.

Last year, 114 people drowned in Ireland; 55 of them were accidents, while 25 were undetermined. 

Males are more at risk of drowning (79%) while 23% of all those who drowned were adults aged 50-59. A total of six children aged 14 and under died by drowning last year. 

The most deaths occurred in Leinster (39%), followed by Munster (33%), Connaught (17%) and Ulster (11%). 

Dublin (16) was the county which witnessed the most drownings followed by Limerick (13) and Cork (13). 

IWS is appealing to members of the public to train with registered training providers before engaging in aquatic activities.

Those planning water-based activities this summer, should first receive training from recognised national organisations, now listed on a new website. 

They have released the following advice on how to avoid drowning:

  • Teach schoolchildren how to stay safe for summer, listed on
  • Take training with a recognised provider, listed on
  • Swim at Lifeguarded waterways, listed on
  • If there is no Lifeguarded waterway nearby then swim at a recognised, traditional bathing area.
  • Swim within your depth - stay within your depth;
  • Never use inflatable toys at beaches, rivers or lakes.
  • Use local knowledge to determine local hazards and safest areas to swim;
  • Ensure that ringbuoys are present;
  • Make sure that the edges are shallow shelving so that you can safely and easily enter and exit;
  • If you drink alcohol, only do so after your aquatic activity has ended.
  • Wear a lifejacket with crotch strap when on the water.

Read: Father, son and his girlfriend feared dead after being swept into sea.