Number of swimmers rescued falls by 240

A rare benefit of the poor summer weather has been a significant reduction in the number of swimmers having to be rescued by lifeguards over recent weeks.

Number of swimmers rescued falls by 240

According to Irish Water Safety, lifeguards rescued 173 swimmers from our beaches, rivers, and lakes last month. The group said that total was 240 fewer than last July.

It breaks down the rescues into those taken from the water through a swim recovery and those rescued using a surf rescue boat or a surf ski.

In a swim rescue, the lifeguard swims out to the victim and uses either a torpedo float or a rescue tube — an inflatable tube which can be secured around the victim which will keep them above water, particularly if unconscious.

Kerry had by far the highest numbers of rescues: Ten people taken from the water by a swim rescue and a further 29 using a craft. Clare had 16 swim rescues and 16 craft, while in Cork, 13 people were swim rescued and six by craft.

Irish Water Safety said there were 278 children lost and reunited with their parents and another 8,665 accidents prevented by the proactive actions of lifeguards.

Chief executive John Leech urged the public to use local authority-manned lifeguarded bathing places to ensure there were no swimming tragedies before children return to school.

“Swim between the flags and please take heed of the advice given by the lifeguards and always supervise your children. Lifeguards should not have to spend time searching for children,” he said.

Mr Leech also warned that the seasonal weather and sea conditions have brought potentially dangerous jellyfish to some of the country’s beaches. The Portuguese man o ‘war has been reported on Barleycove Beach in Cork and the Lions Mane jellyfish has been reported on a number of beaches on the west and east coasts.

Irish Water Safety also said there will be a risk to the public of being stung by weever fish over the last weekend of the month due to the full moon and the associated spring tides.

Mr Leech said while the inclement weather had cut the number of rescues, that did not mean his group was happy that the weather kept people from the water. In fact he said Irish Water Safety encourages people to go into monitored water regularly to build up and maintain their confidence, enabling them to cope if an unforseen circumstance does arise.

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