LIFEGUARDS across Fingal’s many beaches responded to a staggering 4,800 individual incidents over the summer months in their bid to keep Fingal’s beaches safe.
The summer of 2017 saw an increase in accidents prevented across Fingal’s beaches thanks to the vigilance and experience of lifeguards employed by Fingal County Council.
According to this year’s annual Review of Lifeguard Service on Fingal’s 11 beaches, there were 4,800 individual incidents dealt with by the 35 lifeguards stationed across Fingal over the summer period.
None of these incidents resulted in major injuries or incidents involving the public, thanks to the work of the lifeguards.
That larger number included every kind of incident the lifeguard is called to deal with but in terms of actual accident prevention by lifeguards on our beaches, the figures are equally impressive.
In 2016, 404 accidents were prevented by on duty lifeguards and this year’s report found that this figure increased to 414.
Fingal County Council’s Water Safety Development Officer John Hartnett credited the increase in accident prevention to the on-duty lifeguards’ experience and training.
Mr Hartnett said: ‘Our lifeguards are extremely vigilant and have gathered enough knowledge through yearly training and past experience to pre-empt potential accidents and prevent them.
‘As was the case in previous years, this summer we were able to provide lifeguards with defibrillator training and workshops with the Royal National Lifesaving Institute and Dublin Fire Brigade, providing them with the essential skill-set to prevent water related injuries.’
Further training included rescue boat training and an eight-week fitness programme to ensure each lifeguard was able to meet the physical requirements of their job.
Before being employed as a lifeguard, candidates must complete a pool fitness test conducted by the Dublin Area Committee of Irish Water Safety.
The report also highlights a growing issue around recruitment as applications for lifeguard positions are in decline which has forced Fingal County Council to share applicants with the other Dublin and Eastern Local Authorities.
‘It is an issue and one that we will be looking at over the winter with our colleagues in the other local authorities as our 2017 report has clearly shown that our beaches need to have lifeguards on duty during the summer period,’ said Mr Hartnett.
Fingal County Council will hope to have that recruitment issue dealt with in time for the summer season, next year when lifeguards are likely to be just as busy on Fingal’s beaches, saving lives and preventing accidents and keeping our beaches safe for everyone.
Fingal’s lifeguards together on Portmarnock beach