The Voice of Ireland's Fishing Industry and Maritime Community - Published
Monthly, Established 1989 -----
Drowning Prevention Campaign Respect the Water says Fight
Your Instincts, Not the Water to Stay Alive
temperatures look set to soar across Ireland new research commissioned
by the RNLI has revealed that 39% of Irish people questioned said
they would follow their instincts and fight against the water, if
they unexpectedly fell into it. However the RNLIs Respect
the Water campaign is asking people to fight those instincts and
remember one simple piece of advice floating that
could save lives from drowning.
immersion in cold water puts people at severe risk of suffering
cold water shock, which triggers the instinctive but life-threatening
reaction to gasp uncontrollably and swim hard, which can quickly
lead to drowning. Research commissioned by the RNLI shows 39% of
people in Ireland would follow this potentially life-threatening
instinct if they fell into water, with 28% of respondents saying
their immediate reaction would be to swim, while 3% said they would
panic two of the instinctive responses the RNLI is urging
people to fight. Others said they would remove clothing (5%); do
nothing (1%); hold their breath (1%), and 1% said they would not
know what to do. Only 8% of respondents knew specifically to float
(4%) or tread water (4%).
RNLI recently announced a partnership with the GAA for the Respect
the Water campaign which is being supported through their Healthy
Clubs programme. The charity invited some of the GAAs top
athletes and healthy club representatives to their training college
in Poole and to Portsmouth University to experience the effect of
cold water on the body. One of those who attended was Noel Browne,
Castlehaven GAAs healthy club representative and well-known
long distance open water swimmer. Noel has recently returned from
swimming from the Gibraltar Straits, a major open water swim which
he completed in five hours and forty minutes.
the RNLIs Respect the Water campaign Noel said, It can
go against everything your body wants to do but resisting the urge
to fight against the water when you fall in and just float, can
save your life. I train hard for my swims and spend hours in the
water all year round. Ive seen the effects of cold water shock
on people who were not acclimatised to the water and it can be frightening
and overwhelming. Fighting against it increases the chances of water
entering the lungs and puts a strain on your heart. The best course
of action is to try to float or rest, just for a short time. The
effects of cold water shock will pass within 60 to 90 seconds and
let you regain control of your breathing, increasing your chances
recommended floating position is to lean back in the water and keep
your airway clear. Keeping calm will help maintain buoyancy and
moving as little as possible until you have control of your breathing
will give you a much better chance of surviving until you can swim
to safety, call for help, or continue to float until help arrives.
Morrison RNLI Lifesaving Manager added, The RNLIs volunteer
lifeboat crews launch to hundreds of calls for help every year in
Ireland but, sadly, not everyone can be reached in time. If people
are in danger in the water they can help themselves by floating
and regaining control of their breathing. Through our Respect the
Water campaign in partnership with the GAA, we want to start a national
conversation about water safety. Were asking people to remember
this lifesaving advice and share it with others it could
be the difference between life and death. Each year an average of
28 people drown accidentally around the Irish coast.*.
those who are planning to go into the water and with the good weather
coming out way, the best way to stay safe is to choose a lifeguarded
beach and swim between the flags. And if you see someone in danger
in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coast Guard.
Respect the Water campaign will run throughout the summer on channels
including cinema, outdoor, radio, online, and on catch-up TV channels.
The cinema adverts have been voiced by Irish actor Liam Cunningham.
can visit RNLI.org/RespectTheWater for information on the effects
of cold water shock and floating techniques.