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Swimmers in Carlow and Kilkenny urged to stay safe while in, on or near water

Rescue services are reporting a higher volume of call-outs across the country

If you’re in, on or near water this Bank Holiday Weekend you’re being reminded to stay safe by a host of national organisations.

The RNLI is appealing to people to call the coastguard in case of an emergency, and to not attempt a rescue themselves.

The service is reporting a higher volume of call-outs, due to larger numbers visiting coastal areas since Covid-19 restrictions eased.

While Water Safety Ireland is advising that swims only take place at lfeguarded waterways, locally throughout August these are on the River Barrow at Clashganna Borris, Bagenalstown from 2pm until 5:30pm and from 6pm to 8pm, The Weir Kilkenny City, The Meadows Kilkenny City, Inistioge, Thomastown, Graiguenamanagh from 2pm to 4:30pm and again from 5pm to 7:30pm.

You’re also asked to ensure you swim in areas that are traditionally known to be safe and have ringbuoys available for rescues.

Nine people have drowned at waterways on the island of Ireland in seven days, six at inland waterways.
Water Safety Ireland’s ‘Better Safe, Than Sorry’ appeal:
1.      As you social distance, avoid swimming in unfamiliar areas that are potentially unsafe. Swim at Designated Bathing Areas where lifeguards are on duty – full list available at www.watersafety.ie/lifeguards/
2.      If there is no Designated Bathing Area near you, then visit https://watersafety.ie/open-water-swimming/ for comprehensive advice. Swim at known traditional bathing areas where there are ringbuoys erected that you can use for rescues. Ask for local knowledge to determine local hazards and safest areas to swim. Pay attention to any safety signage identifying hazards.
3.      Swim within your depth and stay within your depth. Make sure that the edges are shallow shelving so that you can safely and easily enter and exit the water.
4.      To escape a rip current, swim parallel to the shore and then swim back ashore. See www.watersafety.ie/rip-currents/
5.      Inflatable toys pose a real threat to life and should not be used at open water locations as the slightest breeze can take children away from shore, out of their depth. Parents and guardians need to be particularly careful to ensure that children are supervised at all times in, near or on water.
6.      Never swim in quarries or reservoirs.
7.      Alcohol is a factor in one third of drownings – never mix alcohol with water activities.
8.      Always wear a correctly fitting lifejacket when boating and have a means of communication in a waterproof pouch.
9.      Beware of stranding by incoming tides. Carry a charged phone at all times and in an emergency, call 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.
10.  If you see somebody in trouble in the water: SHOUT – REACH – THROW
a.      SHOUT to calm, encourage and orientate them;
b.      REACH with anything that prevents you from entering the water (clothing/stick);
c.      THROW a ringbuoy or any floating object to them.
Know The Lifeguard Flags:
No Lifeguard flag means that there is no Lifeguard on duty.
A red flag means that a Lifeguard is on duty but has deemed conditions to be too unsafe to swim.
The red and yellow flags mean a Lifeguard is on duty and the Lifeguard is patrolling between those flags.
Visit www.watersafety.ie for more information.