Sinn Féin Councillor John Sheamais Ó Fearraigh is calling on members of the public to stay safe and behave responsibly when in or near water this summer.
The Glenties based Councillor made the plea as Met Éireann this week have forecast further hot weather and sunny spells over the coming days.
Cllr Ó Fearraigh said we all like to see a bit of nice weather this time year and thankfully Met Éireann has this week predicted that temperatures are set to rise over the coming days while they have also forecasted plenty of sunshine for the time ahead.
“Of course, while it’s lovely to see people and communities out enjoying the good weather, we will inevitably see many people take to the water this week, perhaps for the first time this year.
“And while it’s great to see so many people bathing and swimming at the many beaches and pristine waters our county has to offer, I feel it’s important to remind everyone to be mindful of water safety whilst in or near water.
“We are of course an island nation and there are loads of experienced swimmers and those who regularly spend time in the water however, there are also many others who are less familiar with the dangers it poses.
“Regardless of ability or experience however, it’s so important that everyone exercises caution and behaves responsibly whilst in the water.
“Tragically 133 on average lose their lives each year due to drowning, many of which are completely avoidable, while in this county too we have unfortunately seen all too often the dangers of the water.
“The main agency for promoting awareness and educating people about water safety, Irish Water Safety, is therefore calling on all of us to stay safe and practice good behavior whilst enjoying our waterways, seas and other aquatic environments.
“Irish Water Safety (IWS) has issued an advisory to the public this week and all the relevant information on how to stay safe while in or near water is available on its website, www.iws.ie which I’d recommend everyone visits before venturing out over the next few days.
“Some of their advice includes swimming within your depth, supervising children closely and not to use inflatable toys in open water.
“Similarly, the public are urged to only swim at designated Bathing areas where lifeguards are on duty and to only swim in areas which are known locally as safe and where there are ring buoys present.
“And while it should go without saying, alcohol still remains a factor in one third of drownings, so people are advised never to drink prior to undertaking water based activities.
“If you should happen to see someone in distress or if someone has got into difficulty whilst in the water, and efforts to encourage them safely to shore have failed, you should not enter the water yourself by rather you should dial 112 and contact the Coast Guard for help.
“Let’s all enjoy the good weather while it lasts and remember to please stay safe this summer season.”