Latest figures from the National Water Safety Forum show that 255 people lost their lives in accidental drownings in the UK in 2017.

The number, from the Forum’s Water Incident Database (WAID), represents two-fifths (41 per cent) of the overall number of deaths in water that year (592) and includes 13 cases in which natural causes of death were suspected or confirmed. Other causes include suicide (209), crime (5), and cases in which the cause was not recorded or confirmed (123).

As in previous years, men (217) are disproportionately represented in the statistics, with young and middle-aged males being particularly affected.

The majority of incidents occurred at the coast/shore/beach (68) or on rivers (64). As in previous years, a large proportion of those who died did so while taking part in an activity in which they never intended to be in the water – 106 people drowned while walking or running.

WAID compiles statistics from across the UK from a number of sources, including inquests, and breaks these down into deaths by activity, age, location type and geography, to give those working in prevention a clearer idea of where to target interventions.

A full copy of the UK Annual Fatal Incident Report 2017 can be viewed at: www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/waid/reports.asp

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Cold water shock dangers need including in swimming and classroom lessons, say councils

“Knowing what to do if someone accidentally falls in cold water could mean the difference between life and death.”  – Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board

 

Swimming and classroom lessons should teach children about the dangers of cold water shock, as new figures show a 25 per cent rise in the number of young people drowning accidentally, council leaders urged today.

With school holidays approaching and current warm weather, the Local Government Association (LGA) is warning how even strong and confident swimmers can struggle and drown after jumping into cold and unpredictable seas, rivers, canals and lakes where temperatures can be as low as 15C in the summer – half that of typical swimming pools heated to 30C.

The LGA is also urging the Government to make “near-miss” statistics – sourced from fire and rescue service data – available for inclusion in the Water Incident Database to improve its effectiveness, as these figures are currently excluded from it. Councils believe this will help to identify the scale and nature of risk, which could be understated

 

You can see the post in full on the LGA website.

Coastal Safety Group initial meeting

Our brand new Coastal Group met at the RLSS offices in May, following a meeting of the existing Beach Advisory Group in the morning. The group brings together representatives from many of the major water safety organisations whose aim is to help save lives around the coast. It will work to raise awareness of the risks and take action to inform the public to keep people safe whilst participating in leisure activities on the coast.  In the future other organisations such as local resilience forums and local government associations may be invited to join.

This time the group discussed how organisations would support the National Drowning Prevention Strategy and how risk assessments and safety plans might be made consistent across the country. Updates included information about:

  • the Casualty Review Panel which assesses whether a person’s life might have been saved by a lifejacket
  • Surf Lifesaving GB volunteers beginning beach patrols
  • The National Trust working with the RNLI to improve safety at coastal locations
  • RYA’s launch of Emily’s Code
  • RLSS’s Drowning Prevention Week
  • The work that NCI is carrying out with the Coastguard to help them with the reporting of incidents
  • A new RNLI project on coastal walking

 

2016 Provisional Figures Released

New figures released today (May 11) reveal that 300 people lost their lives in accidental drownings, or drownings in which an accident is suspected, in the UK last year.

The figures, published by the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF), reveal that a large number (112) of those who died did not intend to be in the water – of whom 77 people drowned while out walking or running – while 104 people drowned while partaking in water-based activities.

The total includes 35 people who died from suspected natural causes while or after being in the water.

The NWSF’s Water Incident Database (WAID) compiles drowning statistics from across the UK and breaks these down into deaths by activity, age, geographical location, and location type.

Figures should be treated as provisional – there are a number of records that are either still subject to coroners’ inquests or have been handed open or narrative verdicts, meaning that at this stage it is not possible to derive, with confidence, a classification. As such, these figures are expected to revise upwards.

A full copy of the UK Water-Related Fatalities 2015 report can be viewed at: www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/waid/info/waid_fatalincidentreport_2016.xls

One-off evidence session for the UK National Drowning Prevention Strategy announced

This one-off oral evidence session scrutinises the structure and coordination of organisations that work to prevent and respond to emergency incidents around the coastline, including the implications of recent reorganisations of the Coastguard and Search and Rescue helicopter services, and integration with the traditional land-based emergency services. The session considers issues around beach safety, and the responsibilities of beach owners and managers, in the light of a spate of tragic accidents at a number of locations in summer 2016. There are also broader questions about implementation of the UK’s first National Drowning Prevention Strategy, which was launched in February 2016 and is supported by a range of organisations, including the Department for Transport.

More information can be found at the Committee homepage.

Figures reveal 321 people died in accidental drownings in 2015

New figures released today (July 29) reveal that 321 people lost their lives in accidental drownings in the UK in 2015.

The figures, published by the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF), also show that the majority of those who died did not intend to be in the water, with 82 people having drowned while walking or running, and 29 deaths while taking part in a commercial activity.

The number also includes 30 people who died from suspected natural causes while or after being in the water.

NWSF’s Water Incident Database (WAID) compiles drowning statistics from across the UK and breaks these down into deaths by activity, age, geographical location, and location type.

The majority of deaths occurred at the coast/beach/shore (95) and in rivers (86). As in previous years males are most susceptible to drowning, with 232 men and boys being recorded as having drowned, compared to 43 women and girls. There was a higher number of deaths for males than females recorded in every single age bracket.

Children and youths aged up to 19 represent 10 per cent of those killed, with 32 dying in 2015,  23 of these being in the 15-19 bracket. July represented the highest number of deaths (46, up from 34 in June and 35 in August), while many people also drowned in January (40).

In England 231 people were killed in accidental drowning or where natural causes were suspected, with 50 in Scotland, 33 in Wales, and three in Northern Ireland.

George Rawlinson, chairman of the NWSF, said: “As the holiday season commences I am saddened that still too many lives are needlessly lost, this alone clearly demonstrates the need for action. The forum, through its partner organisations, is determined to tackle drowning so that the families and loved ones of these tragedies may be comforted in the knowledge that we’re all working together to reduce incidents around our coast and inland waters and protect future generations.

“With Government support for our first National Drowning Prevention strategy launch early this year, we’re actively progressing towards a goal where more people can enjoy the water safely.”

A full copy of the UK Water-Related Fatalities 2015 report can be viewed at: http://www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/waid/reports.asp

 

New Coastguard film aims to highlight dangers of cold water

A new film which targets 18 to 29 year old men with a message about the dangers of cold water shock is being launched by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) today (Monday 25 July). The new 40-second film aims to highlight the dangers of jumping or falling into water, especially after drinking, and reveals…

via New film aims to highlight dangers of drinking or falling into water, especially after drinking — Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Running or walking? don’t slip up

Chief Fire Officers Association

Just going for a walk or a quick run doesn’t sound like an activity you wouldn’t return safely from. In fact, an organisation asked to help spread the message declined – ‘because walking is safe’.  Yes, walking and running are safe but people need to be mindful if they are near water – no matter how safe they perceive their activity to be, the risks change. Not being aware is how you get caught out.

CFOA_Water Safety Poster_RUNNER

The WAID statistics speak for themselves. Not only are runners and walkers the group most at risk of accidental drowning, but this group has also seen a jump in the number of fatalities in recent years.

2010       58

2011       87

2012       54

2013       126

2014       138 (during 2014 113 cyclists died on UK roads)

Rivers have been identified as the body of water which poses the greatest risk.

runners and walkers drowning by water body Runners and walkers drowning…

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Water safety group’s call to action to reduce drowning

A national drowning prevention strategy that aims to halve the number of fatal incidents on or near water will be launched on 29 February by Transport Minister Robert Goodwill MP.

The document, created by members of the National Water Safety Forum* (NWSF) is the UK’s first drowning prevention strategy, created in response to the World Health Organization’s report on global drowning, which recommended that every nation should have a drowning prevention strategy.

About 400 people drown and a further 200 take their own lives in our waters in the UK every year; that equates to one accidental drowning every 20 hours. Activities in and around water are safer now than ever, but 44% of drowning fatalities happen to people who had no intention of entering the water.

The UK strategy highlights the areas that organisations need to focus on to make a difference and asks for support in contributing towards the national plan. The NWSF strategy page can be viewed here: http://www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/strategy/

The NWSF will be asking organisations and individuals to sign up to a pledge to reduce drownings; to contribute towards the shared objective by making the National Strategy a local priority and by actively supporting the intention of the Strategy by raising the profile of drowning in the UK.

Robert Goodwill said:

“The number of people drowning each year is shocking and must be cut. As an island nation the water plays an integral part of our lives. But the sea, rivers, lakes and canals are all too frequently killers and action needs to be taken.

“That is why I fully support the launch of this drowning prevention strategy. Working together we can significantly reduce the number of tragic deaths and prevent the families of hundreds of people each year going through unbearable pain and suffering.”

George Rawlinson, Chair of the National Water Safety Forum commented:

‘Hardly a day goes past without some sort of human tragedy taking place in UK waters. Around four-hundred people accidentally drown each year in the UK – this is unacceptable and it’s a problem that we need to face up to together.

‘The organisations represented through the National Water Safety Forum have united in a common aim – to prevent history repeating itself in this tragic way, year after year, and to use our resources in the most effective way to halve accidental drowning fatalities in the UK by 2026.  It’s an ambitious target but well worth striving for. Now we have a strategy, we have a focus and, most importantly, a call to action to do more to combat drowning. Ultimately, we hope to save every life – one life lost is one too many.’