Quick Facts

  • From 2018 to 2022 there have been an average of 91 drownings per year.
    • This is down from 120 average per year from 2013 to 2017
  • Males represent 78% of drownings in Irish waters from 2013 to 2022.
  • Drownings often happen quickly and silently with 74% of drownings occurring within the home county of the victim.
    • 2018 to 2022 shows that constant and vigilant supervision is the most important intervention to help prevent 70% of children drownings.
  • From 2013 to 2022, alcohol consumption was a factor in 28% of drownings.
  • Activities of walking and hiking, bathing and swimming account for 73% of activities prior to drowning during 2013 to 2022.
  • From 2013 to 2022 around 90% of all drownings involved more than one body of water, such as a river as the entry point and a lough as the recovery point.
    • The majority of all drownings occur entirely at inland water sites – 58%.

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 80 drownings in Ireland in 2021, this figure could have been much higher were it not for the preventive actions performed by Water Safety Ireland assessed Lifeguards who rescued 473 persons from drowning, administered first aid to 6.787 people and reunited 516 lost children with their guardians.” Remarked Martin O’Sullivan, Chairman of Water Safety Ireland (2021).


Rescue: Physical intervention with Canbuoy, a Rescue Board, or a Rescue Tube, Long distance pick up in Deepwater.

Assist: Wading, Reaching, Ringbuoy, Canbuoy Assist/Towing – No serious carries involved or Physical Contact, Short Distance.

Advice Given: General Safety Advice – Flag Meanings, Weather Conditions, Facility Locations, Verbal Advice by Lifeguard.

Accident Prevented: Blowing Whistles, Keeping people in LG Zone, Preventing Climbing on rocks, Advising Water Sports users to keep out of LG Zone, Verbal or Signal Intervention by Lifeguards