National Water Safety Awareness Week

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We are a nation of beach lovers and when the sun shines we pack our beach bags and head to the beach. No matter how often your toes sink into the sand there are beach safety steps you can take to make sure you and your family remain safe.

Learn how to swim

Swimming in the sea takes different skills, so before you get your feet wet, it’s best to learn how to swim in the surf. If you don’t know how to swim you should learn and restrict to paddling in the shallow water only and in the presence of a lifeguard. Taking classes from qualified and registered training instructors is the best way to enjoy our waters, check out Water Safety Ireland  courses.

Supervise children

Children should be supervised by adults at all times while they are swimming or near water anywhere. Adults supervising need to remain vigilant, never turn away or get distracted, not even for a moment.

Good swim practices

Always swim within your depth, parallel and close to shore and don’t swim after eating. Never use inflatable toys in open water or swim out after anything drifting. Avoid staying in the water for extended periods when waters are still cold as you risk hypothermia.

Swim only when a lifeguard is on duty

Swim only when a lifeguard is on duty and in areas designated for swimming. All swimmers should respect the rules for swimming and follow the direction of the lifeguard. Parents of young children should carefully supervise their children even where a lifeguard is present.

Never swim alone

Always swim with others, never alone, no matter how tempting the sea is. Accidents happen even to good swimmers.

Wear lifejackets

Those boating should wear a properly fitting serviced lifejacket with crotch strap. Shore anglers should also wear a lifejacket and be extremely vigilant for ocean swells.

Don’t drink and swim

Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs seriously impairs judgment and coordination and increases the risk of injury or drowning.

Avoid diving headfirst

It is best to enter the water feet first. Diving into shallow or murky water, or water of unknown depth or underwater environment is dangerous.

In an emergency

In Marine Emergencies, call 112 and ask for the coastguard.

For water safety advice and information contact Water Safety Ireland.

The EPA Bathing Water Team

About the author: The EPA are the environmental regulator. The EPA bathing water team make sure that local authorities carry out their functions under the Bathing Water Regulations and publish the annual bathing water quality report. The latest information about bathing water quality is always available on and you can follow us on Twitter for incident alerts - @EPABeaches