1 August 2020
By Tom Collins
The Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton TD has launched the newly updated Safety on the Water website. www.safetyonthewater.gov.ie
Speaking at an event hosted by RNLI Galway to formally launch the new initiative today Minister Naughton said; “Water safety is not just a seasonal consideration – it is an all year round commitment and everybody has a role to play, be it as participants, as supervisors of children or simply as observers who can raise the alert”.
Over the last ten years, 1,200 people drowned in Ireland, an average of 10 every month with many drownings happening quickly, silently and in cooler water with hidden currents that impairs the ability to swim and float. These losses bring unspeakable hardship and sufferings on families and friends and they are preventable.
She added “I commend the excellent collaboration between the different organisations, Coast Guard, RNLI, Water Safety Ireland, Irish Sailing who have done such wonderful work in promoting safety standards across the marine leisure industry and BIM in their work with the fishing communities”
Prevention is the overarching objective of the Safety on the Water Initiative. It aims to attract a higher level of interest from the general public to the site and to encourage a younger audience to engage with a more modern interactive medium. It provides a one stop shop for all marine safety information in order to minimise accidents and to prevent the loss of life on Irish waters.
Minister Naughton referenced the advice of the Coast Guard and Water Safety Ireland “that water based inflatable devices present a clear risk to the public. The Coast Guard and the RNLI deal with a large number of inflatable related callouts. Please heed their advice and leave them at home. They are not suitable for use at the seaside or at any open waterways”
Minister Naughton also acknowledged the efforts that the Search and Rescue (SAR) organisations have made to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of SAR services during the Covid-19 crisis adding: “It is to your great credit that you have put measures in place to ensure the safety of your people throughout these challenging times. Coast Guard volunteers have in addition, assisted the HSE with provision of transport and other support. Water Safety Ireland has worked closely with the local authorities to ensure the availability of beach lifeguard services and RNLI have ensured the continued availability of their vital services”.
The safety on the water website provides information on, what to do in an emergency and how to plan water based activities as well as links to the websites of the participating organisations. The site provides access to a series of water safety publications including the Code of practice – The Safe Operation Recreational Craft, publications on different water based activities and a leaflet on the use of Personal Floatation Devices / Life jackets.