Hogan Announces New Water Safety Awareness Courses

Mr. Phil Hogan, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, today (27 April 2012) announced the introduction of the “National Water Safety Awareness Award”.   This is a series of courses aimed at workers who work in, on or near water.  As well as a general course there are three site specific courses – beaches, rivers/streams & fast water and water supply/pumping stations & reservoirs.

The Minister was attending the annual conference of the Water Safety Development Officers (WSDO) conference being held in Carlow.  WSDOs are employed by Local Authorities and work for the promotion of Water Safety in their local areas.

“These courses will enable personnel to work safely in an aquatic environment” commented the Minister.  “It is vital that workers exposed to water as part of their work environment are aware of the hazards and are at least aware of simple rescue techniques.”

The National Water Safety Awareness Award site specific courses will be provided by Irish Water Safety (IWS) Accredited personnel.  The Minister thanked IWS for the work involved in developing these courses.  “No doubt this will lead to a safer working environment for people involved in these environments.  Staff should be mindful of the potential dangers of water and take adequate steps to minimise the risk” added Minister Hogan.


Irish Water Safety is the statutory body established to promote water safety in Ireland.  It receives funding from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government as well as sourcing funding and sponsorship from other sources.  It teaches swimming, lifesaving, water confidence, safety, survival, rescue skills and basic life support. Courses are provided nationwide to the general public and also to children as part of the primary school curriculum.


Minister Hogan urged the WSDOs to share their experiences and so keep up to date with trends as well as identify best practice and roll that out to all areas of the country.  He lauded them for their work providing lifeguards and lifesaving equipment including ringbuoys in their areas.  He also praised their involvement with young people, especially their implementation of the IWS schools programme.


The Minister said that the number of drownings in 2010 had reached a new record low and everybody involved in reducing this number should be proud of the achievement.  He said that he was saddened by the increase in the level of drownings as a result of suicide.  He welcomed the establishment of a working group in IWS to examine this matter and hoped that steps could be taken to tackle this very sad development.

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