23 May 2022

Dublin Port Company finds half of the Irish public say they are not attuned to water safety

Dublin Port Company (DPC) has today launched a new water safety awareness campaign, bringing comedy stars Darren Conway and Joe McGucken aboard to help spread the important message. The campaign is being launched ahead of the bank holiday to help promote the safe and responsible use of Dublin Bay for leisure and recreation this busy summer season and encourages anyone planning a trip on the water to “always think water safety”. According to a new survey on water safety commissioned by DPC, half of people say they are not well attuned to water safety.

In the past number of years, DPC has continued to observe an increase in the number of people enjoying water-based sports and activities in the surroundings of Dublin Bay and Dublin Port, often for the first time. Unfortunately, these same surroundings can be potentially very dangerous, including the active, busy shipping lanes, where large ferries and cargo ships operate year-round. 

The survey undertaken by DPC indicated that swimming was the most popular water-based activity undertaken by the public, with 50% of participants having engaged in the activity. Only around 20% of swimmers always use a tow float when in the water, which is a simple safety device used to aid visibility. Swimming was followed by Canoeing/Kayaking and Rowing as the next most popular pursuits. 

Only 10% indicated they were very familiar with various aspects of these large vessels that frequent Dublin Bay. Awareness surrounding large vessels is strongly influenced by water activity engagement; those who do not participate in any activity are significantly more likely to be unaware of aspects of the large vessels. While two-thirds indicated that they would be aware of basic safety protocol and equipment like lifejackets and first aid kits, only 26% said they were very familiar with VHF Radio, an important safety communications and alert system. 

Members of the city’s established boat and water sports clubs will already be very familiar with the dos and don’ts of crossing Dublin Bay, navigating the shipping lanes at Dublin Port or enjoying the River Liffey. Nonetheless, less experienced members of the public can find themselves in dangerous circumstances, requiring assistance from the DPC team on occasion. 

As part of the campaign, DPC has created a starter’s guide to basic safety etiquette on the water, including a new map showing a simplified version of the shipping lanes at Dublin Port where permission to cross is mandatory for all leisure craft users. This information, and more, is available at www.dublinport.ie/watersafety

Speaking about the campaign, Darren Conway said; 

“Having worked with Dublin Port on this campaign last year, I was delighted to be asked to come back and reprise my character of Backstroke Conway. Lads my age are the main people who might find themselves getting in trouble out there on the water so I’m more than happy to help spread this message, and have a bit of fun doing it!”

Dublin Port Harbour Master, Captain Michael McKenna, said; 

“With almost 50 ship arrivals or departures per day, the shipping lanes of Dublin Bay and the River Liffey are very busy, with multiple vessels often moving at the same time. These large ships must navigate within the deep water of the shipping lanes, so it is vital that smaller vessels keep clear and stay safe. 

We love to see the water enjoyed safely. By being aware of the risks, making safe decisions and having the appropriate safety equipment people can enjoy the magnificent environs of the river and bay.”

Note on Jet Skis and Personal Watercraft (PWC)

Jet ski and PWC users are reminded to adhere to the 6 knots speed limit when within 60 m of a pier, jetty, slipway, mooring, shore or another vessel and 120 m of a swimmer or dive flag. Freestyling is not permitted within 200m of swimmers, or the shoreline.

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