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Warmer weather has turned many waterways into a playground for aquatic sports and boating activities. Accidents can happen on the water and there may not be time to reach for a lifejacket in an emergency therefore don’t just carry a lifejacket – wear it; if it’s not on you, it can’t save your life. That’s the message of a Bank Holiday campaign from Irish Water Safety, which is urging people to make sure that their lifejackets are in good order for the summer season ahead. 

Of great concern is the fact that parents continue to bring children boating without ensuring that all on board wear a lifejacket. Warmer weather is enticing many to enjoy leisure boating activities nationwide and as this is National Water Safety Awareness Week, Irish Water Safety is advising all boat users to study its safe boating alert so that safety comes before complacency when boating. 

Training is key to enjoying aquatic activities safely which is why Irish Water Safety is delighted to support the Irish Sailing Association’s “Sail Spree”, an initiative that encourages people of all ages to get together in their local community and discover the thrill of various aquatic activities. Find out about events in your area at www.sailspree.ie

Irish Water Safety’s Safe Boating Alert: 
1. Check condition of boat and equipment, hull, engine, fuel, tools, torch. 
2. Check the weather forecast for the area. 
3. Check locally concerning dangerous currents, strong tides etc. 
4. Do not drink alcohol while setting out or during your trip. 
5. Carry an alternative means of propulsion e.g. sails and oars or motor and oars. 
6. Carry a first aid kit on board and distress signals (at least two parachute distress rockets, two red hand flares). 
7. Carry a fire extinguisher, a hand bailer or bucket with lanyard and an anchor with rope attached.
8. Carry marine radio or some means of communication with shore.
9. Do not overload the boat - this will make it unstable.
10. Do not set out unless accompanied by an experienced person.
11. Leave details of your planned trip with someone ashore - including departure and arrival times, description of boat, names of persons on board, etc.
12. Wear a Lifejacket or Buoyancy Aid at all times.
13. Keep an eye on the weather - seek shelter in good time.
14. In Marine Emergencies, call 999 or 112 and ask for Marine Rescue.

Lifejackets Checklist
• Visually Check all lifejackets and buoyancy aids for the following deficiencies:
• Ensure CO2 Cartridges have not been punctured and are secured firmly
• Ensure all zips, buckles, fasteners and webbing straps are functioning correctly and adjusted to fit the user
• Check that their lights, if fitted are operating correctly
• Ensure that Automatic Inflation devices if fitted are fully serviced and in date
• Check that the valve or lifejacket is not leaking by inflating the lifejacket overnight
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