Drowning Prevention Week

Drowning Prevention Week is the Royal Life Saving Society UK’s (RLSS UK) flagship campaign which strives to help cut down the hundreds of deaths caused by accidental drowning across the UK every year. Latest figures released last week show 338 people lost their lives to drowning in 2014 – many of these deaths could have been preventable.

Every week I read another tragic story of an accidental drowning, in the UK and worldwide. This can be prevented with good education and more lessons. People underestimate the dangers around water, especially during the summer months. From 20th – 28th June it is Drowning Prevention Week, a week to highlight the dangers and risks around water, be it at pools, rivers, lakes or the sea. We will be focusing on water safety for our lessons during this period.

This document points out some important points to note for children involved in a watery environment.

  • Spot the dangers
  • Check for hazards such as tides or currents
  • Consider what could be hidden under the water
  • Be careful of unsafe banks, stay well back from the edge
  • Take advice
  • Always read the signs
  • Only swim where there is a lifeguard
  • Wear buoyancy aids and life jackets
  • Go with a friend Swim with your friends and family
  • Friends can get help
  • Never swim alone
  • Learn what to do in an emergency
  • Find the nearest phone and call 999 or 112
  • Shout loudly to attract attention
  • Never enter the water to save someone

On average, around 400 people drown in the UK each year. Nearly 50 of these are children and young people. We believe that the majority of drownings are preventable. Make sure that you and your loved ones are not counted in next year’s drowning figures. Here are some important water safety tips to help you stay safe.

• When researching your holiday, check the safety arrangements for any water-based activities

• Check if the local pool or beach has lifeguard cover

• Check sites for hazards, check the safest places to swim

• Always read the signs – water safety signs may be different from those in the UK. Find out what the water signs mean

• Swim with your children – it’s more fun and you can keep them safe

• Check when the tide is high or low

From these numbers, it is clear that adults are more likely to drown than children. So it is vitally important that we all become aware of the dangers around water, and take action. Learn to swim today.