Quick Facts

  • An average of 115 drownings occur in Ireland every year.
  • Males represent the vast majority of deaths in Irish waters – 79%.
  • The majority of all drownings occur at inland water sites – 62%.
  • Thirty children aged fourteen and under drowned in ten years.
  • Drownings often happen quickly and silently with 80% of drownings occurring within the home county of the victim.
  • Alcohol is a factor in one third of drownings.
  • The main pursuits that account for the highest number of drownings, are bathing, boating, walking and fishing.

Drowning Statistics

Lifeguard Rescue Statistics

Our Local Authorities employ Water Safety Ireland assessed Lifeguards during the bathing season at popular bathing sites nationwide. This table gives a clear picture of the effectiveness and value they contribute to saving lives each year and we commend them for their work in drowning prevention.

“Although there were 76 drownings in Ireland in 2020, this figure could have been much higher were it not for the preventive actions performed by Water Safety Ireland assessed Lifeguards who rescued 468 persons from drowning, administered first aid to 3,450 people and reunited 251 lost children with their guardians.” Remarked Martin O’Sullivan, Chairman of Water Safety Ireland (2021).

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