“A father and son went out on an inflatable paddle board and within minutes they were over a kilometre from shore.”

Jayke Morris, Lifeguard, County Mayo

Inflatables toys and open water don’t mix. They have no traction as they sit on the surface of the water. They can be swept out very quickly by wind and currents, often faster than someone can swim after them. They can take a child out of their depth very quickly, and as they are unstable, it is very easy for a child to fall off and end up in the water. The simple fact is that these toys should never be used in open water. We ask parents to discourage their use and never bring them to the beach, river or lake.

Things to know about inflatables


  1. Never use inflatable toys, paddle boards or kayaks in open water.
  2. Remember that these items are toys, not safety devices.
  3. Strong currents can rapidly sweep inflatables and people out to sea.
  4. Strong winds can blow an inflatable out to sea in minutes. Often a lot faster than a person can swim.
  5. If it isn’t fully inflated, it can bow or snap back on the user pushing them into the water.
  6. In some cases, people have panicked and abandoned the inflatable resulting in sudden immersion in cold water. This can lead to cold water shock and incapacitation.