Quick Facts

  • An average of 110 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 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