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Swimmers at Sandycove, Dublin yesterday. Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
on the beach

Coast Guard warns swimmers against "literally jumping into the unknown"

There’s been a surge in the number of people heading to the country’s beaches and swimming spots in the last week.

THE IRISH COAST Guard is warning people not to put themselves at risk by diving or swimming in areas they aren’t familiar with.

The service is advising people to only swim at beaches and waterways where lifeguards are on duty, to obey the safety flags indicating whether it is safe to swim, and to always avoid swimming in locks and weirs.

The warning follows last Thursday’s tragedy in Drogheda, in which a 13-year-old boy drowned after getting into difficulty while swimming with friends at a water treatment plant. 

“With the advent of good weather it is extremely important that people take extra precaution with regard to personal safety when engaging in water activities, especially where young children are concerned,” Coast Guard manager Declan Geoghegan said.

Geoghegan says people who dive or jump into the water at spots they’re not familiar with are “literally jumping into the unknown” as there may be submerged objects which aren’t visible from the surface.

A statement from the Coast Guard highlights ten tips for anyone planning on taking a dip this summer:

  • Never go out on the water, including rivers and lakes, having consumed alcohol.
  • Be able to swim.  Get the proper training to stay safe.
  • Never go out alone.
  • Familiarise yourself with the local area, be aware of your own capabilities.
  • Swim parallel to the shore and not in deep water.
  • Keep warm before and after swimming.
  • Have a means of alerting the emergency services.
  • Avoid using inflatable toys, such as lilos and rubber rings, on the water.

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