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Ross Macleod

Have you ever done this? This hard-hitting ad will make you think otherwise

Last year, 55 people died by accidental drowning in Irish waterways.

A NATIONAL DROWNING prevention campaign is being rolled out this week warning people about the dangerous unpredictability of Irish waters.

Last year alone, 55 people died by accidental drowning in Irish waterways.

The RNLI say the number of near misses is a lot greater, with 1,133 people rescued in Ireland last year, with 36 lives saved.

Respect the Water 

Respect The Water, the new hard-hitting campaign, features videos which some people might find distressing.

The first film entitled Breathe is shown from the point of view of the casualty, played by an actor.

The narrator invites the audience to hold its breath while watching the film, as the casualty struggles and succumbs to the effects of cold water shock in the time the audience is holding their breath.

The film reveals that, on land, the average person can hold their breath for 45 seconds – but in cold water, they might not last 10.

RNLI / YouTube

The second film called Unpredictable is again shown from the perspective of a casualty, played by an actor and shows the unpredictability of the water and how quickly conditions can turn.

Both films have received a 15 age rating.

RNLI / YouTube

The two commercials will screen in Irish and UK cinemas over the next eight weeks.

Cold water and rip currents 

The charity said it wants make people – particularly men – aware of just how unpredictable water can be, highlighting the dangers of cold water and rip currents.

While we might be enjoying warmer temperatures of late, the RNLI said the average sea temperature is just 12 degrees Celsius. 

Cold water shock, which causes uncontrollable gasping and numbs the limbs, can set in at any temperature below 15  degrees Celsius.  

Calm Chaos Ross Macleod / RNLI Ross Macleod / RNLI / RNLI

Rips, strong currents of water that can quickly drag people out of their depth, accounted for around two-thirds of the environmental-related incidents lifeguards respond to each year.

The RNLI’s Joe Moore said:

The water might look inviting, but it can be dangerously unpredictable, with hazards which can be fatal if not respected. Cold water is a major risk for anyone who ends up in the water – intentionally or otherwise.
The body’s reaction to sudden immersion in cold water will trigger uncontrollable gasping, which can draw water into the lungs and lead to drowning. The coldness will also gradually shut down the use of limbs, making it very difficult even for strong swimmers to stay afloat.

For more information visit the Respect the Water website and search #RespectTheWater.

Read: A travel journalist was sent to write about Ireland … and had all his gear stolen>

Read: Dublin City Council have banned bathing from one of the city’s beaches>

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