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Dublin: 13 °C Saturday 15 August, 2020
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'Get in, get out and warm up': Irish Water Safety issues advice ahead of traditional Christmas swims

An average of 127 people drown each year in Ireland.

Swimmers at Dun Laoghaire's 40 Foot.
Swimmers at Dun Laoghaire's 40 Foot.
Image: RollingNews.ie

IRISH WATER SAFETY has issued an appeal to all those taking part in traditional Christmas time swims this year. 

The message from the IWS is not to take any chances and to avoid alcohol at all costs before getting in. 

The IWS said that an average of 127 people drown each year in Ireland.

The safety group said that it is concerned that many people planning to take part in community or sponsored Christmas and New Year swims may take chances beyond what is acceptably safe.

They urge people to minimise the length of time they remain in water due to the risk of hypothermia as water temperature is approximately 11° Celsius at sea and 5° Celsius in freshwater.

A spokesman for the IWS said that cold water immersion and hypothermia can overwhelm the fittest of swimmers but steps can be taken to remain safe.

  • Take great care walking down slipways, jetties, piers and over rocks as they may be slippery and cause you to fall.
  • Swimmers should “Get In, Get Out and Warm Up”, avoiding extended periods of exposure.
  • Before entering the water throw some water down the back of your neck to allow your body prepare for cold water immersion.
  • Alcohol should be avoided before swimming as it impairs judgment and increases the risk of cold water immersion and hypothermia.

A spokesman for IWS said: “At inland water sites, parents can be lulled into a false sense of security when visiting areas close to water hazards such as slurry pits, exposed drains, rivers and canals. Safeguard your children with constant uninterrupted supervision and make a New Year’s resolution to learn swimming and lifesaving skills and to always wear a lifejacket on water.”

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