With the fine weather bringing ever increasing numbers of people to the seaside and other waterways, the danger of drowning is greater than ever.
The recent bank holiday had its share of tragedy with water related deaths. No doubt with the continuing fine weather, swimming and water related activities will continue to gather more and more participants,” commented Michael O’Sullivan of the Limerick County Water Safety Committee.
With this in mind, the committee is running a number of swimming and water safety classes around the county in the coming weeks.
According to Mr O’Sullivan, many of the accidents in water are directly related to people taking foolish risks, such as swimming in unfamiliar conditions in areas where there is no lifeguard supervision or in unsuitable tidal conditions. He also warned against weaker swimmers going out of their depth or unqualified people attempting to rescue swimmers in difficulty.
Swimming while under the influence of alcohol is another serious problem.
“At times, common sense is thrown out the window, in the rush to enjoy fine weather,” Mr O’Sullivan warned.
“The Limerick County Water safety Committee of Irish Water Safety do their utmost to keep the level of drownings to a minimum. Unfortunately many people were drowned in the past twelve months, some of these deliberate self imposed deaths.”
The water safety and swimming classes are aimed at encouraging people to learn to swim, to improve existing skills or to become qualified lifeguards.
“Teenagers should be aware that there is a ready market for suitably qualified lifeguards, with the increase in water based activities and the proliferation of leisure centres,” said Mr O’Sullivan, pointing out that lifeguards can earn good wages for the summer months.
“The only hitch is that you must put in the effort. From the initial Swim One Cert to Lifeguard standard, there are over 20 exams, and the higher the grade the harder the test,” he added.
To assist in this improvement in swimming skills the committee is running a series of swimming and water safety classes in several venues in the Shannon Estuary. Locations and dates are as follows:
Glin Pier from July 14 to 19 and August 11 to 16, starting at 8am subject to tides.
Enrolment at Glin on the previous Sunday at the pier at 12 midday. Fee is €30. Contact 061-393204.
Askeaton Pool from July 7 to 11 from 2pm and August 18 to 22 from 12 noon. Fee is €50. Contact 061-392570