The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), the drowning prevention charity, has issued a warning following the tragic deaths of four British holidaymakers in Spain and Morocco.
The charity is urging people to listen to water safety advice to help prevent any more people losing their lives.
The warning comes after two women, Lisa Coggins, 35, and Tracey Aston, 32, from Birmingham drowned on 1 October whilst on holiday with friends in Llonet de Mar, Spain; Carl Dunlop, 48, from South Tyneside who drowned on 6 October at Salou, south of Barcelona and Glenn White, 49, from Grimsby, who drowned during family holiday to Morocco. All drowned in the sea.
Around 400 people needlessly die from drowning in the UK and thousands more suffer injury, some life-changing, through near-drowning experiences. RLSS UK records also show around an additional 40 UK citizens drown overseas each year.
RLSS UK Chief Executive, Di Steer said: “Any drowning is a tragedy but the number of people who have lost their lives over the past few weeks abroad is not only extremely sad but extremely worrying. People have lost their lives in a number of tragic circumstances which prove that water safety and knowledge is so, so important, no matter where you are or what you are doing – particularly as people’s guard may be more likely to be down while on holiday.
“We want people to listen to our alert and take on board the safety messages we are issuing – advice that could mean the difference between life and death.
“We sincerely hope that these are the last drowning tragedies to take place abroad this year. Please don’t become a statistic.”
Top Holiday Water Safety Tips
1) When researching your holiday, check the safety arrangements of any water-based activities
2) When booking check if the pool/beach has lifeguard cover. Not all water sites have supervision at all times
3) Check bathing sites for hazards, check the safest places to swim and always read the signs – find out what local warning signs and flags mean
4) Make sure the whole family can swim and know what to do in an emergency
5) Swim with any children in your care – it’s more fun and you can keep them close and safe
6) Follow the pool rules
7) Take time to check the depth, water flow and layout of pools
8) Never enter the water after drinking alcohol
9) On beaches check when the tide will be high and low and make sure that you won’t be cut off from the beach exit by the rising tide
10) Inflatable dinghies or lilos are a well-known hazard – each year there are drownings as people on inflatables are blown out to sea. Do not use them in open water
11) Do not swim near to or dive from rocks, piers, breakwater or coral
12) Swim parallel to the beach and close to the shore
13) Never swim alone
Also, be aware that many holiday accidents occur in the first or last hour at a resort, when parents are most likely to be distracted.
In addition to the above tips, ensure you and your family know the SAFE code –
Spot – spot the dangers
Advice – follow safety signs and advice
Friend – stay close to a friend or family member
Emergency – shout for help and call 999 or 112