Multiple local authorities are reporting shortfalls in available lifeguard staff, causing shortages at many beaches.
Both Fingal Council and Sligo County Council are reporting significant recruitment shortfalls leading to quieter beaches going unsupervised.
Water Safety Ireland has appealed to the public to go to beaches and lakes with lifeguards this Bank Holiday weekend.
Water Safety Ireland Deputy CEO Roger Sweeney said there are many reasons beaches are short-staffed this summer.
“Coming out of COVID, a lot of sectors - hospitality, for example - experienced difficulties and lifeguarding is no different,” he said.
“Lifeguards are qualifying but they aren’t always available.”
Mr Sweeney said many people qualifying as lifeguards do so around the time they are taking state exams.
“This qualification [process] usually happens just before or during school or college exams and that can influence their full-time availability, studying for exams,” he said.
“Many of them want to take holidays or go abroad [after exams].”
Those who do qualify for lifeguarding don’t typically remain in Ireland, according to Mr Sweeney.
“Many lifeguards that do qualify then want to work a summer lifeguarding abroad,” he said.
“Because no more than nursing and other qualifications, lifeguard qualifications are recognised the world over.”
Mr Sweeney urged anyone planning on going for a swim to be mindful of the shortage.
“There are some important considerations, especially if you are bringing friends and family to any waterway over the current hot spell,” he said.
People can find all registered lifeguards and the waterway they operate at on Water Safety’s website.
“Otherwise, swim at o af waterway that's traditionally known locally to be safe to swim in,” he said. “There are plenty of lovely places to swim out there that are known locally to be safe.”