What We Do At Water Safety Ireland

Our focus is on public awareness and education. Tragically, an average of 115 people drown each year in Ireland.  We feel that this is simply unacceptable considering that most fatalities are avoidable.  We strive to reduce these fatalities by increasing water safety awareness and by changing attitudes and behaviours so that our aquatic environments can be enjoyed with confidence and safety.

What WE DO
Strategic Development

History of WSI

Water Safety Ireland’s long and proud history has been published, thanks to the wonderful efforts of author Tiarnan O’Sullivan who has been involved with WSI since 2002, working as both a pool and beach lifeguard and volunteering as an instructor and as secretary of our Cork committee.

Tiarnan began researching our history in early 2013 and has captured delightful stories, many from the founding members of the organisation, established in 1945.

Doors were opened, attics were trolled and memories awoken that are now reflected in 288 pages of vigorous and often witty reflections.

Order via [email protected] / 091-564400

Softback: 15 Euros; Hardback: 25 Euros


Meet Our Team

See more about Water Safety Ireland’s Council & what our Commissions do.

Working Groups are appointed within each.

Commission Duties

Clare McGrath


Clare is the Chair of the Sports commission. A member of sport commission for 12 years, she is also a member of Water Safety Ireland, Clare. She has been involved in organisation of Regional and National lifesaving competitions, both pool and beach for 15 years. She works with Clare County Council, as the Water Safety Development Officer, within the Environment Section. She is an active Water Safety Ireland instructor, examiner, tutor and international referee and she has worked as a referee at the highest level at European and World competitions.

List of Council Members

John Claffey; Paul Devins; Leo Mahon; Simon McGarrigle; Paul Burke; Philip Keleghan; Christine Moloney; Dervla Quinn; Natalie McGuinness; Melanie Cullen; Mary Plunkett; Tom O’Mahony.

Technical Committee

The Technical Committee works closely with Rescue, Lifesaving, Swimming, IRB and the Sport’s Commission. The Commission’s recommendations are forwarded to the Technical Committee for consideration and onward recommendation or otherwise to Council.


  • Co-ordinate and monitor the work of all Technical Commissions
  • Review all Technical Commission recommendations and forward as appropriate all suitable recommendations to Council for approval
  • Review all Lifesaving syllabi & publications
  • Manage the bi-annual WSI Examiners Conference
  • Identify and Prioritise the new projects with Commissions

Audit, HR and Risk Commission


  • Monitoring Expenditure and Income
  • Internal Financial Controls & Risk Management
  • Internal Audits
  • External Audits
  • HR Matters
  • Define an approach for the continuation of management development for both existing and new staff
  • Health & Safety
  • National & International meeting and conferences

Strategic Marketing Commission


  • Produce marketing and promotional material as outlined within the S.I., Strategic Development Plan & Business Plan
  • Source forms of sponsorship
  • Market the WSI Brand
  • Standardisation of merchandise – certificates, etc.
  • Standardisation and publication of Books, Manuals, Leaflets, Posters
  • Manage the strategy for Press releases
  • Monitor Press Cuttings
  • Ensure that WSI is well represented at exhibitions countrywide
  • Liaise with RoSPA & the Marine Safety Working Group
  • Promotion of public awareness of Water Safety
  • Assist in organising National Ceremonies, Conferences & Events
  • Represent WSI at LAMA Awards
  • Promote the wearing of Lifejackets.
  • Develop the commercial strand to our organisation; improve branding and PR
  • Analyse drowning statistics

Rescue Commission


  • Promote Blue Flag safety standards and other aquatic environmental issues
  • Manage Risk Assessments at local, national & international level
  • Manage the VAT Exemption Inspections as per S.I. 249 of 2013
  • Manage the SEIKO JIT Rescue Award
  • Training of CRBI personnel in rescue on inland and maritime waters
  • Liaise with Community Rescue Boats Ireland
  • Carry out usage tests on rescue equipment & review documentation
  • Manage the Open Water Safety Awareness courses

Sports Commission


  • Improve liaison with Swim Ireland in regards to our NGB funding
  • Improve liaison with the Federation of Irish Sport
  • Improve liaison with Coaching Ireland
  • Manage International and National Competitions
  • Train & appoint Coaches, Referees and Officials
  • Ensure all WADA regulations are enforced for our athletes
  • Recommend Sports Equipment
  • Manage International Life Saving Sport & Competitions
  • Promote and develop lifesaving sport in Ireland
  • Liaison with the Olympic Council of Ireland
  • Draw up procedures for all activities and competitions

Lifeguard Commission


  • The promotion of efficiency and standardisation of the Lifeguard Service
  • The improvement of national standards for Lifeguards
  • All matters dealing with Lifeguards (Pool, Beach, River)
  • Recommend national standard for all lifesaving equipment
  • The provision of instruction in water safety, rescue, resuscitation and recovery skills
  • Ensure European Resuscitation Council guidelines are adhered to by our membership
  • Liaison with PHECC
  • The provision of instruction in water safety, rescue, resuscitation and recovery skills.
  • European Qualification Framework in Lifeguarding
  • Critical Incident Stress Management

Education Commission


  • Promotion of measures, including the advancement of education, related to the prevention of accidents in the aquatic environment
  • Maintain and develop training and water safety awareness programmes within the Irish Educational System.
  • Develop a Transition Year water safety programme
  • Develop the Teachers Training Courses
  • Development of further FETAC  awards
  • Review and update all Children’s welfare, protection & educational documents
  • Arrange seminars for Designated Liaison Persons
  • Liaise with the Dept of Education to maximise water safety awareness training and public awareness programmes.
  • Manage, monitor and enforce best practices in accordance with Children First and our own Code of Ethics for children and all relevant legislation pertaining to child welfare and protection.

Swimming Commission


  • The provision of instruction in Swimming in order to teach lifesaving
  • Train & examine Swimming teachers and Tutors to National Standards
  • Manage the Annual Water Safety Area Committee Officers Conference
  • Improve membership and communication with WSAC’s
  • Monitor standards of Governance of WSAC’s
  • Represent WSI at IFSTA
  • Ensure WSI is represented on the White Flag Jury
  • Implement a programme of risk assessments in swimming pools
  • Evaluate the number of Swim Certificates in WSI
  • Review all swimming related documents and update as necessary

Inshore Rescue Boats (IRB) Commission


  • Develop a syllabus for training lifeguards in the use of IRB’s
  • Arrange training courses for Lifeguards in the use of IRB’s
  • Assist in the management of the WSDO’s Conference
  • Manage National & International IRB Competitions
  • Arrange for safety cover at all WSI events & competitions where such cover is required.
  • VHF Radio short range courses.

Working Groups

Suicide WG

Open Water Awareness WG


Swimming Pool RA WG

Strategic Development Plan WG


Internal Auditors: Tom Keating, Paul Burke

National DLP: Ashling Nesbitt