Winter Water Safety Advice

02 March 2018

The recent tragic loss of life in Danson Park lake, London this week, has really brought home how dangerous bad weather can be. 

On the roads, when we’re walking the dog, on the school run –  as much as we love talking about the weather, the extremes we’re experiencing courtesy of ‘the beast from the east’ and Storm Emma, all too readily can catch us out and leave us unprepared for the worst. 

As the weekend approaches, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) believe that forewarned is forearmed and has some simple but effective safety advice to help you, your friends and your family, stay safe and warm through the worst. 

Ice or water that appears to be frozen, presents its own unique set of dangers. We’re all well aware of the dangers of slipping on ice underfoot but ice on bodies of water can easily disguise the hazards underneath and its presence is no guarantee it will support your weight. Should the worst happen and someone falls through the ice, there is the chance of being trapped and the temperature of the water alone, will quickly take your breath away and sap any strength to fight.

A frozen lake, pond, canal or reservoir can make for ‘picture postcard’ seasonal scene of exquisite natural beauty. Tragically, all too often, people risk their lives by venturing into the water.

  • Teach children not to go on to frozen water under any circumstances
  • Children and pets are particularly at risk when tempted to play on the ice
  • Pets should be kept on leads when near frozen water and owners refrain from throwing objects onto ice for them to retrieve
  • When you’re out and about, plan ahead and ensure you’re familiar with basic emergency procedures
  • Listen out for local weather reports and wherever practical, adhere to traffic alerts


Once everything has started to thaw, flood hazards bring their own set of problems:


  • Never try to walk or drive through floodwater – six inches of fast flowing water can knock an adult over and two feet of water will float a car
  • Never try to swim through fast flowing water or flood water – you may get swept away or be struck or caught up in an object in the water
  • Never allow children or pets to go near or play in flood water. It is hazardous and may be contaminated with chemicals
  • Keep an eye on weather reports for flooding in your area. Do not travel in heavy rainstorms or snowstorms unless absolutely necessary
  • Prepare a flood kit in case your home floods or you are trapped in a vehicle for any period. This can contain a change of clothing, wellies, waterproofs and blankets as well as a torch (and batteries), charged mobile, radio, medication and a first aid kit and a list of useful numbers, including flood alert lines

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.

RLSS UK is the UK’s leading provider of training and education in lifesaving, lifeguarding, water safety and life support skills in the UK.  It is also the governing body for Lifesaving Sport.

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 drownings that occur each year and support families affected by drowning. The next campaign will run from June 15 – 25, 2018.


For more information and interview/spokesperson opportunities contact Claire Huggins by emailing [email protected] or calling 0300 323 0096 opt 1.