Irish Water Safety has issued a warning to those using Kildare’s waterways to stay safe this weekend.
It issued this advice to minimize the risk of drowning, as the warm weather forecast for the weekend will tempt many people to swim in open waters for the first time this year.
Many Kildare people may also travel to beaches across the country and it advises people to swim at lifeguarded waterways.
If not lifeguarded, then swim with others, never alone, at recognised traditionally safe bathing areas.
“As we approach National Water Safety Awareness Week commencing on Monday, we appeal to the public to inform themselves of the dangers and so reduce the chance of drowning tragedies that average five per fortnight – get more advice at www.iws.ie,” said Irish Water Safety.
It urges people to swim within your depth, parallel and close to shore.
Supervise children at all times as drownings can happen quickly and silently. In Ireland 30 children have drowned in the past ten years.
Never use inflatable toys in open water, or swim out after anything drifting.
Never swim in the dark, or late at night or jump into water from heights.
Rivers can be dangerous due to currents, hidden hazards and colder water under the surface that can result in hypothermia. 62% of drownings occur inland with 80% of drownings occurring close to the victim's home.
Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination - all essential for swimming and boating and avoiding hazards in the water. Almost 30% of drowned victims had consumed alcohol.
Wear a lifejacket when on the water, and make sure it has a correctly fitting crotch strap.
In Marine Emergencies, call 112 and ask for the coastguard.