RLSS UK – the drowning prevention charity is urging people to listen to water safety advice

05 July 2018

RLSS UK – the drowning prevention charity is urging people to listen to water safety advice to prevent any more drownings this summer, particularly as we are just at the start of school holidays period. Over 700 people needlessly die from drowning in the UK and thousands more suffer injury, some life-changing, through non-fatal drowning experiences. Each year around a quarter of all drownings occurring during July and August.

 

RLSS UK Chief Executive, Di Steer said: “Already at the start of the summer 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.

 

“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.

 

Di Steer continued: “We are also looking to open more safe inland water supervised swimming sites. People want to cool off in the hot summer weather so we have a good opportunity to get more people taking part in safe supervised swimming activity. We urge land owners who would be interested in finding out if their venues would be suitable for swimming to get in contact with RLSS UK and we can take you through the necessary safety reviews and provide recommendations on lifeguard requirements.”

RLSS UK Advice

Follow the below advice and take note of the dangers

Don’t

  • Swim at unsupervised (lifeguarded) sites
  • Jump into the water until you have acclimatised to the water temperature
  • Jump into the water from extreme heights
  • Swim into deep water which will be colder
  • Ever leave children unattended near or in water

 

Do

  • Swim at supervised (lifeguarded) sites
  • Swim parallel with the shore, where you can quickly get to safety
  • Swim with friends or family, so that you can help each other if you need to
  • Look for signs and advice about the specific dangers at the place where you are swimming
  • Think about what you will do if something goes wrong
  • Contact a reputable outdoor pursuits or coasteering centre if you want to take part in more extreme activities

 

Dangers of open water include

  • The height of the fall or jump if tombstoning
  • The depth of the water – this changes and is unpredictable
  • Submerged objects may not be visible
  • Obstacles or other people in the water
  • Lack of safety equipment and increased difficulty for rescue
  • The shock of cold water can make swimming difficult and increase the difficulty in getting out of the water
  • Strong currents can rapidly sweep people away
  • Uneven banks and river beds
  • Water quality e.g. toxic algal blooms and industrial/agricultural pollution

 

All of these hazards can be controlled through proper organisation and planning.

If someone is in difficulty in the water:

  • Shout reassurance to them and shout for help and ensure the emergency services are on their way (call 999 or 112)
  • Without endangering yourself, see if you can reach out to them, extend your reach with a stick, pole, item of clothing, lie down or stay secure. Alternatively throw something buoyant to them such as a ring buoy, part filled plastic container, ball or anything that will float.
  • Keep your eye on them all the time and shout reassurance urging them to propel themselves to safety