Runners and walkers are the highest group at risk of accidental drowning

22 February 2016

Runners and Walkers

The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), the Drowning Prevention Charity, is warning UK runners and walkers to stay safe near bodies of water as they are most at risk of accidental drowning.                                                      

The charity has launched its national Runners and Walkers awareness campaign today (22 February) for the second year running, from 22 – 26 February, warning the public to be extra careful around water.

Latest figures* show, of the 381 people who unnecessarily lost their lives to drowning in the UK – 126 were runners and walkers. They never meant to be in the water and are the highest group at risk of accidental drownings.

The charity will be pushing awareness messages through social media, with the hashtag #RunnersandWalkers. People will be encouraged to share the charity’s posts to help save lives.

Di Steer, RLSS UK Chief Executive, said: “Around a third of all drowning victims who sadly lose their lives to drowning are runners or walkers and never intended to be in the water. If you are running or walking next to bodies of water, be aware of your surroundings and please be extra vigilant and stay well clear of bank edges. These are often unstable and this can create slips, trips and falls and always let someone know where you are going.

“We would ask people to support the campaign and follow our simple advice to help ensure they and their families stay safe.”

RLSS UK’s advice:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and take notice of any warning signs when out and about
  • When running or walking next to open water, stay well clear of bank edges. They are often unstable and this can create slips, trips and falls
  • Try to always walk or run with a friend
  • Always let someone know where you’re going – take your mobile phone
  • Learn to swim and lifesaving skills Check out the RLSS UK Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts to follow and support the campaign and help us spread awareness to save lives.

For more information on the RLSS UK Runners and Walkers campaign and the safety steps you can take –

Visit our website at

Follow us on Twitter – @RLSSUK

Visit our Facebook page –

Call – 01789 773994

Notes to Editors –

*Figures are from the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) WAID database 2013. RLSS UK is a member of the NWSF.

The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) is the drowning prevention charity.  Around 400 people drown in the UK every year and the RLSS UK aims to prevent drowning through water safety education.

Through its trading subsidiary, IQL UK, there are more than 90,000 RLSS UK Pool Lifeguards in the UK trained in the National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ). Around 95 per cent of all pool lifeguards are trained by the RLSS UK.

RLSS UK awards and programmes teach a range of lifesaving skills ranging from life support (CPR) to water survival and rescue skills. Programmes include Rookie Lifeguard (for eight to12-year–olds), Survive and Save (for 12 years+) and Save a Baby’s Life (a free course aimed at parents and carers of young children).

The RLSS UK (then the Life Saving Society) was formed in 1891. In 1904, as there was great support for the organisation from the Royal Family, the society was granted permission to use the Royal title and became the Royal Life Saving Society.

Drowning Prevention Week is the national campaign run by the Royal Life Saving Society UK to cut down the number of accidental drowning that occur each year and support families affected by drowning. The next campaign will run from June 18 – 26, 2016.

For more information and interview/spokesperson opportunities contact Porcha Treanor on 01789 774 495 or email [email protected] or Olivia Healey on 01789 774 216 or email [email protected]