“I see so many people jumping into rivers and lakes without thinking. You have to check the depth and be aware of hidden dangers.”

Lucy Cleere, Lifeguard, County Kilkenny

There are fantastic swimming spots at lakes and rivers all around the country. However, it’s important for people to be aware of the differences between fresh water and salt water, and to know the hazards unique to inland waterways. The best advice is to seek out a lifeguarded area and always swim there. Lifeguards are on duty for weekends in June, and full time for July and August.

Advice for rivers and lakes


  1. Swim at Designated Bathing Areas where lifeguards are on duty. For a full list just click here
  2. Swim and stay in the swim zone between the red and yellow flags. Lifeguards are there to protect. Let them be there for you.
  3. Always swim and stay within your depth.
  4. Supervise children at all times. Tell your child to go to the lifeguard hut if they get lost.
  5. Never jump in without thinking. Be aware of sudden depths.
  6. Look out for hidden dangers like submerged objects. Poor visibility can hide what’s underneath the surface and entanglement is a risk.
  7. Be aware of currents. They are not always obvious and can me much stronger than you imagine.
  8. Never use inflatable toys in open water. They have no traction and can be easily carried far from shore by wind and currents.
  9. Stay away from edges, particularly where there is slippery, unstable or uneven ground.
  10. If you see somebody in trouble in the water: SHOUT – REACH – THROW.
    1. SHOUT to calm, encourage and orientate them.
    2. REACH with anything that avoids you needing to enter the water. Use a branch, pole, rope or even a piece of clothing.
    3. THROW a ringbuoy or any floating object to them.