The numbers are higher in younger age groups, perhaps reflecting the number of swimming pools developed around the country over recent decades, with 54.3 per cent expressing their confidence in the 18-24 age bracket bit no other cohort goes beyond the half way mark and in the age group beyond 65 the number dips to 34 per cent.
103 people drowned in Ireland in 2018, six fewer than in 2017 when 109 drowned. This is the lowest figure in eighty years, when 89 drowned in 1939.
This suggests that water safety awareness initiatives are working, but there is still much work to do. Two-thirds as many people die in our waters as on our roads, a sobering figure especially at this time of year.
Aura have produced a list of four simple guidelines to accompany the survey results, all aimed at maintaining safety.
- “Buddy up!”– Always swim with another person — whether you’re swimming in a pool or in a lake. Even experienced swimmers can become tired or get muscle cramps, which might make it difficult to get out of the water. When people swim together, they can help each other or go for help in case of an emergency.
- Get skilled –Speaking of emergencies, it’s good to be prepared. Taking swimming lessons and learning some life-saving skills, such as CPR and rescue techniques, can help you save a life and be fully prepared for the water.
- Know your limits –Swimming can be a lot of fun — and you might want to stay in the water as long as possible. If you’re not a good swimmer or you’re just learning to swim, don’t go in water that’s so deep that you can’t touch the bottom and don’t try to keep up with skilled swimmers. That can be hard, especially when your friends are challenging you — but it’s a pretty sure bet they’d rather have you safe and alive.
- Swim in safe areas only – Swimming in an ocean, river or lake is different from swimming in a pool. You need more energy to handle the currents and other changing conditions in the water. So, it’s a good idea to swim only in places that are supervised by a lifeguard. If something does go wrong, lifeguards are trained in rescue techniques.
With Tesco coming on board as a main partner of Swim Ireland the profile of swimming is set to rise. High performance swimmers are putting themselves into contention for World and Olympic medals which will raise the bar higher in terms of the appeal of this ever present most popular form of physical exercise and activity.
Image how good we would be if we thought we were any good.