As Donegal gears up for the August Bank Holiday weekend, Donegal Sports Partnership is appealing to those engaging in coastal and water-based activities to adhere to basic safety measures.
“It’s so important that water users respect the dangers around water and that people know how to be safe around, on and in the water,” Donegal Sports Partnership Coordinator, Myles Sweeney commented.
“We are fortunate to live in a county with so many beautiful, spectacular and accessible beaches. We’ve seen an increase in the numbers taking to the water and enjoying water-based activities over the summer months,” he added.
“We would encourage people to familiarise themselves with and follow key water safety messages. These include checking weather, water conditions and tides before going on or in the water, letting someone know where you are going and what time you expect to be back, and not going alone – even if whoever you bring doesn’t get on or in the water.
“Water users are also advised to have a method of calling for help. In an emergency call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard. Use an appropriate lifejacket or buoyancy aid if you are doing activities on the water. Ensure you are visible in the water, do not go in or on the water during reduced light, and don’t use inflatable toys in open water,” Mr Sweeney added.
“It’s important that parents and guardians educate children on these key water safety messages, and that people are aware of the many hazards of swimming in undesignated areas. If you see somebody in trouble on the water or along coast, dial 112/999 or use VHF Ch 16 and ask for the Coast Guard.”
Sport Ireland and key stakeholders have come together to encourage everyone to be alert to water safety this summer. In recent months, successful campaigns and initiatives regarding educating the public on water safety have been rolled out. By pooling resources and collaborating, all agencies hope to spread the message on water safety and encourage people to be safe on the water and save lives.
Last month, Donegal Sports Partnership hosted an online seminar on open water swimming safety in conjunction with the North West Sporting Pathways. The seminar was organised in response to the continued growth and popularity of open water swimming around the costal county of Donegal.
Follow the links below to find out more about education and water safety advice for specific water-based activities and learn about general water safety education:
Department of Defence – Office of Emergency Planning – www.gov.ie/summerready
Water Safety Ireland – www.watersafety.ie/open-water-swimming/
RNLI – www.rnli.org/safety
Leave No Trace Ireland www.leavenotraceireland.org
Swim Ireland – www.swimireland.ie/open-water
Canoeing Ireland – www.canoe.ie/safety-on-the-water/
Irish Surfing – www.irishsurfing.ie/safety-environment/safe-surfing
Irish Sailing www.sailing.ie
The Irish Underwater Council www.diving.ie