By Rose Barrett
Sadly, only days before Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD and Water Safety Ireland called on the public to mark World Drowning Prevention Day, a man in his 60s drowned at Dollymount strand on Friday.
The man was taken from the sea circa 1.30pm, when it is believed he was unconscious following a possible cardiac arrest.
Emergency services attended the scene but pronounced the man dead after attempts to resuscitate him failed. Gardaí confirmed his body was taken to Dublin City Mortuary for a post mortem examination. Last October, another man (39) drowned at Dollymount Strand whilst participating in a fundraising kite-flying event.
Another man drowned in Tramore on Sunday bringing the total number of deaths nationally due to drowning to seven people within a week, more than three times the national average.
Water Safety Ireland warns that hot weather increases the risk of drowning. In warm temperatures, the open water is cooler and extended time in the sea/river/lake can result in muscles getting cold and swimming becoming difficult.
Alcohol is a factor in one third of all drownings and the organisation warns against swimming after any alcohol has been taken.
Sunday last saw the first ever UN Resolution on drowning prevention introduced, an initiative of Ireland and Bangladesh that aims to address a global killer that takes an average of 115 lives in Ireland every year. From 2010-2020, drowning was responsible for 1,151 deaths in Ireland and over 2.5m preventable deaths worldwide.
“It is a significant, preventable public health issue,” noted Water Safety Ireland which also stated that many people were swimming in open waters for the first time this year, and may not have had swimming classes for more than 15 months.
Water safety and knowing the dangers of open sea swimming should be part of the conversation with family/loved ones before one even leaves home.
It encourages swimmers to adhere to the following guidelines to stay safe:
Always swim and stay within your depth; swim where possible at a manned lifeguard waterway or at areas that are known locally as safe and where there are ringbuoys present for rescues.
Make sure that the water’s edge is shallow shelving so that you can safely enter and exit. Never use inflatable toys in open water; a gentle breeze can quickly bring a person away from shore. Never leave a child unattended at a garden paddling pool or near water containers. Always wear a lifejacket when participating in water sports on or near water.
If you see someone in difficulty, these simple steps may save a life:
- A. Shout to the casualty and encourage them to shore. This may orientate them just enough.
- B. Reach out with a long object such as a branch or a piece of clothing but do not enter the water yourself.
- C. Throw a ringbuoy or any floating object and call 112 for the coast guard. Ireland averages ten drownings every month.
“Anyone can drown, no one should” concluded Water Safety Ireland. “Please inform your family of this advice and get more safety tips at www.watersafety.ie.”