Water Safety concerns us all (07 Jun 2010)
Written by Tom Gillespie   - Connaught Telegraph Ltd.

The fact that a national monitoring scheme for ringbuoys has had to be launched says a lot for our general attitude towards water safety.
A new website, www.ringbuoys.ie, has been launched by Irish Water Safety, the statutory body for the promotion of water safety awareness in Ireland.

The site has been set up to help local authorities speedily identify missing and damaged ringbuoys, which are dotted throughout the country for the safety of the general public.

Anyone can log onto the website, identify the location and simply report the absence of or damage to a particular ringbuoy.

An email is automatically sent to the water safety officer in each local authority who can then arrange for its immediate replacement or repair.

On average approximately 30 to 40 ringbuoys require replacement annually in Mayo.

According to Michael Gavin, the water safety officer with Mayo County Council, this number of replacements is far too high considering the life expectancy of a ringbuoy should be 10 to 12 years.

There is a certain unavoidable loss, he said, through erosion and storm damage at coastal areas, particularly over the winter months.

But it is difficult to understand why ringbuoys go missing on piers, inland waterways and other sheltered locations.

He has pinpointed vandalism and night time revelry as reasons in some instances for ringbuoys going missing.

Those involved in such behaviour should consider the consequences of their actions should an emergency arise.

They should remember they could be putting someone's life at risk - maybe even their own.

Mayo can boast of being the country's top Blue Flag destination so it is natural that thousands will be flocking to the pristine beaches over the coming months.

The National Waster Safety Awareness Week has just ended during which the Irish Water Safety organisation revealed that 46 children have been drowned in the past 10 years.

They have issued a set of guidelines on 14 steps to safe swimming and staying safe on your holidays, which can be viewed on www.iws.ie.

Everyone can do their bit by reporting missing or damaged ringbuoys (www.ringbuoys.ie) and by informing the authorities should they see anyone interfering with these lifesaving devices.

Hopefully the lifeguards on duty on our Mayo beaches will have a trouble-free and safe season and that those using and enjoying the facilities do so with respect for the environment.


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