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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 15 October, 2019
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People warned not to swim in quarries over bank holiday weekend

According to Irish Water Safety, 62% of drownings occur inland where river and lake beds can be difficult to see.

Image: Shutterstock/Deyveone

IRISH WATER SAFETY has issued a warning to remind people not to swim in quarries or reservoirs over the bank holiday weekend.

This comes after two teenagers drowned this week when they got into difficulty at a disused quarry in Clare.

According to Irish Water Safety, 62% of drownings occur inland where river and lake beds can be difficult to see and therefore extremely difficult to determine depth.

Today marks the start of the bathing season when lifeguards will be on duty at bathing areas from now until 15 September.

John Leech, CEO of Irish Water Safety told TheJournal.ie that people should avoid swimming in areas where there are no lifeguards on duty.

‘Where lifeguards are is where we want the majority of the public to swim, but if there is no designated bathing area near you then swim at areas where there are ringbuoys erected so that you can use them if somebody gets into difficulty.”

Water Safety 

According to Leech, more awareness could be raised about the dangers of quarries and reservoirs if water safety was a mandatory subject in schools.

”We don’t teach water safety, it’s on the syllabus but it’s not mandatory, and so it competes with other sports. It’s through education that you get that awareness.”

Leech said that the module is available to teachers for free online.

Parents should be demanding it be made mandatory but it is up to our teachers.

 Cold Shock

”We find that whenever we get a heatwave, we will have a drowning in places like quarries and in dangerous parts of rivers which are off the beaten track. They are absolutely lethal.”

”With the beautiful weather, people jump in to cool off and they’re out of their depth, they get a cramp or suffer from cold shock and really they’re in trouble,” Leech said.

Cold shock causes the instinctive reaction to gasp and swim hard and is the greatest contributing factor to drowning in Ireland.

Water temperature is 16 degrees Celsius and less in many inland sites.

Leech says that because it is early in the season and the water is only warming up at the moment, which is another reason that inland sites such as quarries should be avoided.

If you see someone get into difficulty dial 112 or 999 and ask for the Coast Guard. If possible look for something that floats or that they can hold on to and throw it out to them.

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Adam Daly

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