Gardaí in Donegal are advising beachgoers to take care when in the water during this weekend’s hot spell.
Many people are making their way to the beach this week as the county basks in warm temperatures. But people are being urged to take basic precautions when it comes to water safety.
Gardaí have issued a notice reminding the public to never mix alcohol and water activities, as alcohol is a factor in 1/3 of all drownings.
It is expected to be a busy time in the Milford, Ballyshannon and Buncrana districts, while extra garda resources are on duty this weekend for the Buncrana Festival.
Most beaches are lifeguarded in Donegal, but they are not monitored 24-7. Find lifeguard times here.
Gardaí issued this advice for people if they see someone at risk of drowning: “If you see someone in difficulty then SHOUT (encourage them to shore) REACH (use a long object to reach to them such as a branch or piece of clothing) and THROW ( throw a ringbuoy or floating object) Do not enter the water yourself Call 112 or 999!
“Swim within your depth and stay within your depth.”
Minister Ring, who has responsibility for water safety, echoed the warnings with a national notice:
“I urge people to be especially vigilant over the weekend as we enjoy the good weather. The unfortunate reality is that incidences of drowning increase greatly during warm weather.
“Our waters are a wonderful resource but, on average, 127 people lose their lives on them every year. Every loss of life is a tragedy which can devastate loved ones, families and communities.
“Water tragedies can be prevented by people taking basic precautions including staying within their depth; ensuring children are adequately supervised; and swimming where lifeguards are on duty or in safe swimming areas where ring-buoys are present. People should not enter the water after consuming alcohol which is a factor in one third of all drownings.
“Almost two thirds of drownings occur in lakes and rivers and it’s really important that people stick to safe swimming areas or areas where ring-buoys are present.
Minister Ring added: “Water Safety Ireland has issued practical advice on how to enjoy our wonderful waterways safely. I urge people to visit www.watersafety.ie to inform themselves of the dangers of open water.”