A new survey of 1,000 Irish people has found that one in three say they can swim, but do not feel confident doing so.
Are You a Confident Swimmer?
The survey, which we carried out in June, also found that:
– Male swimmers consider themselves more confident in the water than female swimmers;
– Only One in Three people aged 65+ consider themselves confident swimmers;
– The most capable age group for swimming is aged 55-64, over 85% of whom can swim on some level.
This survey presents mixed results. We’re delighted that so many people in the country can swim. But we should also be aware of overestimating our abilities, especially since we are at the peak time of the year for swimming. While drownings are less common than they once were, the figure is still too high. Let’s be aware of our capabilities and avoid unnecessary risks.
103 people drowned in Ireland in 2018, six fewer than in 2017 when 109 drowned. This is the lowest figure in eighty years when 89 drowned in 1939. This suggests that water safety awareness initiatives are working, but there is much work to do. Two-thirds as many people die in our waters as on our roads. This is an unacceptable figure, especially considering that swimming is relatively seasonal while driving is constant year-round.
A common cause of maritime tragedies is risk-taking and overestimating one’s ability to swim in adverse conditions. Our survey found that more men consider themselves confident swimmers than women. And statistics from Irish Water Safety found that three times more victims of drowning are male than female.
How Can I Stay Safe While Swimming?
The good news is that most of these water-related accidents are avoidable by remembering a few simple guidelines before you go swimming:
- “Buddy up!”– Always swim with another person — whether you’re swimming in a pool or in a lake. Even experienced swimmers can become tired or get muscle cramps, which might make it difficult to get out of the water. When people swim together, they can help each other or go for help in case of an emergency.
- Get skilled –Speaking of emergencies, it’s good to be prepared. Taking swimming lessons and learning some life-saving skills, such as CPR and rescue techniques, can help you save a life and be fully prepared for the water.
- Know your limits –Swimming can be a lot of fun — and you might want to stay in the water as long as possible. If you’re not a good swimmer or you’re just learning to swim, don’t go in water that’s so deep that you can’t touch the bottom and don’t try to keep up with skilled swimmers. That can be hard, especially when your friends are challenging you — but it’s a pretty sure bet they’d rather have you safe and alive.
- Swim in safe areas only – Swimming in an ocean, river or lake is different from swimming in a pool. You need more energy to handle the currents and other changing conditions in the water. So, it’s a good idea to swim only in places that are supervised by a lifeguard. If something does go wrong, lifeguards are trained in rescue techniques.
Our survey posed the question: “Are you a confident swimmer?” to respondents across Ireland.
The results in full are:
47.2% – Yes
32.3% – I can swim but don’t feel confident
20.5% – I don’t know how to swim at all
53.0% – Yes
27.7% – I can swim but don’t feel confident
19.3% – I don’t know how to swim at all
40.0% – Yes
38.7% – I can swim but don’t feel confident
21.3% – I don’t know how to swim at all
54.3% – Yes
28.3% – I can swim but don’t feel confident
17.4% – I don’t know how to swim at all
47.3% – Yes
32.6% – I can swim but don’t feel confident
20.1% – I don’t know how to swim
49.8% – Yes
32.4% – I can swim but don’t feel confident
17.8% – I don’t know how to swim at all
42.5% – Yes
33.3% – I can swim but don’t feel confident
24.2% – I don’t know how to swim at all
50.0% – Yes
35.5% – I can swim but don’t feel confident
14.5% – I don’t know how to swim at all
33.9% – Yes
33.9% – I can swim but don’t feel confident
32.2% – I can’t swim at all
Learn more about swimming lessons at Aura Leisure.