A man whose brother drowned in a trawler tragedy is helping to spearhead a national RNLI drowning prevention campaign in the hope of sparing others the same heartache of loss.
Alan Cott’s brother, Glynn, was one of two men who drowned when their trawler went down off the south-east coast 12 years ago.
Alan, who joined the RNLI in Ballycotton, East Cork, four years ago, has signed up as one of 39 RNLI ambassadors who will visit GAA clubs all over the country to talk to young players about the charity’s Respect the Water campaign.
Speaking at the launch at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork yesterday, after a week in which three people drowned in inland water tragedies, Alan said even if the campaign saves one life, it will have been worth it.
Glynn Cott was one of three men onboard a fishing trawler that sank some six miles south off Hook Head on March 29, 2006. “There was one survivor who was found on an upturned liferaft but the bodies of Glynn, who was 31, and a family friend were never recovered,” said Alan.
“I wanted to join the RNLI because I felt if I could provide any help to prevent something like this happening, it would be worth it and even if I couldn’t help, I might be able to help bring a loved one home.
As part of the campaign, being run in partnership with the GAA, Alan will be among 39 volunteer ambassadors from lifeboat stations across Ireland who will work with GAA clubs in their communities to highlight the risks of drowning and to share lifesaving advice.
They will encourage people who get into difficulty in cold water to stay calm and float on your back for a short time to regain control of your breathing.
An RNLI spokesperson said this simple survival skill, which could save your life, should be practised.
Cork footballer Brian Hurley, from Union Hall, an RNLI player ambassador, was among those who watched a demonstration of the skill in the River Lee.
He said: “None of us live too far away from the water and we should enjoy it but we also need to look out for the dangers and know what do if we get into trouble or see someone else in trouble. We have an incredible opportunity with both the RNLI and the GAA to start talking directly to young people about it and hearing what they think.”
RNLI lifesaving manager Sean Dillon said losing someone to drowning is a shattering experience. “Sadly as we have seen recently we are still losing loved ones to drowning. We need to talk directly to people, especially our young people to make them aware of risks and also to know what to do,” he said.
“We must all keep sharing lifesaving advice. One drowning is one too many.”
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