Taking the big dip on Christmas morning has become an annual tradition around the country.
Even in the height of summer this can be a pretty chilly experience but never-minding that each year many thousands of the brave and the bold flock to the coast to dust off the cobwebs and wake up to an invigorating Christmas swim!
We here at Coast Monkey are 100% for these Christmas morning swims and are planning to take part as well. And an important message has been issued by Irish Water Safety for all those who are also jumping in on the 25th.
They are cautioning the public to take care this Christmas and minimize the risk of drowning. On average 133 people drown every year, around 11 every month. But by staying safe and learning basis water safety tips these deaths can be avoided.
IWS are advising the public to minimize the length of time they remain in the water due to the risk of hypothermia. “Cold shock” and hypothermia can overwhelm the fittest of swimmers. Take the following steps to remain accident free and have a safe and fun Christmas swim.
- Swimmers should “Get In, Get Out and Warm Up”, avoiding extended periods of exposure.
- Christmas Swim organisers should ensure that they provide comprehensive details of each event to the Irish Coast Guard and local Gardai.
- Check with the Safety Officer, who will advise and has the ultimate responsibility for making decisions.
- If the seas are rough and weather deteriorates, wait for a more suitable day to honour your charity commitment.
- Cold water cools muscles faster than during warmer summer swims and may cause cramp.
- Alcohol should be avoided before and immediately after swimming as it impairs judgment
- Ensure that you have safe access and egress with appropriate shallow shelving, steps or ladders. Less agile people should be mindful that steps leading into the water might be dangerous due to the possible growth of algae. Organisers should ensure that slipways or steps have been cleaned of slime, weed and algae.
They are also advising people to remain cautious when out for walks by rivers, lakes and shorelines during the Christmas period. Due to spring tides that occur on December 29th there will be greater risk of stranding on our coastline. Parents should always supervise children near water.
For more water safety tips visit: www.iws.ie