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Warning over "life-endangering" homemade boats

Several of the jury-rigged craft have been spotted along the Irish coast in recent days.

A 'boat' photographed on the south coast recently
A 'boat' photographed on the south coast recently

THE FINE SUMMER appears to have sparked an increase in the number of people taking to the water in homemade or temporary sea craft.

A number of jury-rigged vessels have been seen – particularly around the south coast – in recent days. The craft pictured was photographed by a concerned citizen in the south of the country in the past week.

Roger Sweeney, Deputy CEO of Irish Water Safety, told TheJournal.ie: “Using any type of craft that isn’t suitable for purpose or that is basically just homemade puts at risk your life and the lives of family members or friends”.

The same craft – apparently assembled using plastic canoes and a boat-trailer – was also photographed later overturned on a beach, although it is understood no-one was harmed while using it.

(Facebook.com/Irish Coast Guard)

Separately, Irish Water Safety is warning people over the use of air mattresses and other inflatable toys on open water. Sweeney is describing them as “floating killers”:

The risk is – if you use these things on open water, you risk being swept out to sea by an offshore breeze, and because of currents in open water, people may not have the skills or ability to get back to shore.

There’s been an increase in such incidents since the start of this summer. July stats from Irish Water Safety show lifeguards recorded 11,421 incidents where they gave safety warnings to bathers at Ireland’s beaches, and at lakes and rivers – a figure that would include advice over inflatable products.

In July alone, lifeguards plucked people from 559 situations where they were in danger of drowning – a rise of more than 250 compared to the entire bathing season last year.

Lifeguards gave first aid to 3,848 people last month, and reunited 575 lost children with their parents or other guardians.

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Daragh Brophy

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