Cork County Council’s Beach Lifeguard team is appealing to parents and guardians to supervise their children at all times while in and around the water this summer.
The team has adopted the motto ‘Holding Hands Saves Lives’ on County Cork’s beaches and has a simple message that a young child should always hold an adult’s hand when near water.
The lifeguards say it is never too early to teach children how to be safe around water and recommend repeating the phrase: “Always hold an adult’s hand near water and never go near it without them.”
An average of 30 children drown in Ireland every 10 years which equates to a full classroom of children. Lack of supervision and lack of education are contributing factors which is why the Beachguard Team is appealing for vigilance at all times and encourages families to visit a lifeguarded beach.
The Beach Lifeguard service is on duty 7 days a week until the end of August across 13 of the county’s beaches from 10.30am to 7pm daily. Beaches will also be guarded during the first two weekends in September.
The service is made up of 40 full-time beach lifeguards, with a backup team ready to support if required.
During the month of June alone, Cork County Council’s Beach Lifeguard Team performed 16 rescues, provided First Aid in 18 instances and gave out almost 700 pieces of advice. It estimates that many dozens of accidents were prevented as a result.
The team is also warning about the dangers of inflatables and asks people to never ever use inflatable or blow-up toys on open water.
They added that it is important that the public, especially children, are familiar with the Flag System at the beach.
A red over yellow flag means the lifeguards are on duty. People should swim between the red and yellow flags parallel and close to the shore as this is the area that the Lifeguards are patrolling.
A red flag indicates that swimming is not advised. Black and white chequered flags mark the area for surfing only.