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

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.’

Public Health Wales child drowning review published

A new report by the Child Death Review Programme at Public Health Wales has found a link between drinking alcohol and drowning among young people. The report also suggests that closer and appropriate adult supervision may help prevent drowning in some cases.

The ‘Thematic review of deaths of children and young people through drowning’ includes recommendations to support the prevention of deaths from drowning.  A key recommendation emerging from the report is that organisations in Wales need to work together in a new national forum to improve water safety.

The report also highlights the need for consistent guidance on safer bathing for children and young people with epilepsy and their carers, and to support healthcare professionals.  There is currently no widely shared consensus advice on safer bathing for people with epilepsy.

The thematic review looked at the deaths of children and young people from birth to 24 years between 1 October 2009 and 30 September 2014.  26 deaths were considered in the review, which included individuals who were normally resident in Wales or died within Wales.

The report finds that majority of deaths occurred in older children and young people, with 21 deaths (81 per cent) occurring in individuals aged 12–24 years.  These deaths tended to occur in open water environments.

Five of the deaths (19 per cent) were children aged 11 years or under.  These deaths tended to occur in closed water environments, like pools.

The report also finds that the majority of deaths were in males, with 21 (81 per cent) occurring among this group.

Almost one third of deaths (31 per cent, eight of the 26) may have been linked to possible alcohol consumption.

The report also advises:

  • Organisations in Wales should have common messages on water safety, appropriate to the setting
  • There are interventions that may encourage safer swimming or prevent unintended contact with water, like self-latching gates around pools
  • Education on how pool-based lessons relate to open water could be included in Welsh Government efforts to ensure every child in Wales is able to swim
  • Planning is needed in Wales to take forward the UK national drowning prevention strategy (2016–2026) goal of producing publically available community-level risk assessment and water safety plans
  • Holidaymakers at home and abroad could be encouraged to be more aware of water safety, supported by the tourist industry routinely providing advice and guidance on water safety
  • There are opportunities to improve sharing of data, and to look at how information is communicated to support prevention, including reports by coroners
  • Appropriate support for those involved in drowning events in Wales is important

The Child Death Review programme in Wales aims to identify and describe patterns and causes of child death including any trends, and to recommend actions to reduce the risk of avoidable factors contributing to child deaths in Wales.

More information about the programme is available on their website at www.publichealthwales.org/childdeathreview.

Drowning prevention charity launches powerful film warning drinkers to stay safe near water

The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) is warning UK students to steer clear of walking by or entering water when under the influence of alcohol.

The drowning prevention charity is launching its national Don’t Drink and Drown campaign on 28 September to 4 October to warn drinkers, particularly students, to act responsibly near water after they have been drinking – and to make sure they and their friends avoid walking home near bodies of water.

RLSS UK has also launched a short, powerful and thought provoking film to mark the start of the Don’t Drink and Drown campaign. The film sees the effects of alcohol on a young person when in the water. It aims to raise awareness of the dangers of being near water when under the influence of alcohol.

The RNLI ‘Respect the Water’ campaign

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Despite the best efforts of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s volunteer crews and lifeguards –  Did you know that around 150 people still lose their lives around the UK coast each year, and around 80% are men?

….And are you aware that cold water shock occurs in water less than 15 degrees, but the average UK sea temperature is just 12?

Pictured L-R Back - Virginia Billcliff (RNLI Volunteer), Denise Cobb (Brighton and Hove Mayor), James Haskell (Wasps and England Rugby Player) and Dan Gurr (RNLI Volunteer).

Denise Cobb (Brighton and Hove Mayor), James Haskell (Wasps and England Rugby Player) and RNLI volunteers Supporting Respect the Water campaign. Picture by Brighton Togs http://www.brightontogs.com

You may also be surprised to know that just one metre cubed of water weighs a tonne, and that is not a lot of water. Although as water safety professionals some of this may seem obvious, our research shows that many of those most at risk underestimate such facts, and therefore put themselves in situations of increased and unnecessary risk.

These findings underpinned a new RNLI coastal safety campaign called ‘Respect the Water’ last summer to help raise awareness about dangers of drowning and general risks around the coast. The campaign was piloted in the South-East of England during August and was launched in Brighton by England rugby star James Haskell who kindly gave his time for free to support the RNLI.

The campaign consisted of traditional outdoor posters and PR activity, but also a combination of radio adverts, digital banners and specially designed pint glasses and beer mats to warn about the dangers of drinking and swimming. An experiential road show visited three key locations and included a custom built ‘tonne of water’ and water filled punch bag to engage with adult men, those who are most at risk of drowning.  The campaign used facts, real stories and local content to it interesting and relevant, challenging that alpha male bravado which is often associated with keeping safe around water. Even though you are tough and strong, could you push yourself against a tonne of water, or how long could you fight against the water, the opponent that will never tire?

Pictured L-R: Denise Cobb (Brighton and Hove Mayor) and James Haskell (Wasps and England Rugby Player). They were today supporting Respect the Water.

Pictured L-R: Denise Cobb (Brighton and Hove Mayor) and James Haskell (Wasps and England Rugby Player). They were today supporting Respect the Water. Picture by Brighton Togs www.brightontogs.com

We are proud to announce the pilot won three prestigious DMA awards (Direct Marketing Association) in December, with gold for best use of experiential, two bronze for best media strategy and best use of copy, and a nomination for best creative solution. The campaign was completing against international brands such as Virgin Holidays, 02, Honda, Unicef, Unilever, EE and IBM to name a few, so we are delighted with such recognition so early on in the development of the campaign.

The plan for 2014 is to increase coverage to a national scale around the coastline of the UK, with focused activity in up to ten locations identified by the RNLI as areas of significant risk and a high number of incidents.

Written by: Ross MacLeod, Coastal Safety Manager (Marketing), the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

News & Updates November ’13

The BSAC Diving Incident Report 2013 has been released

The Annual Diving Incident Report for 2013 is now available to download from the BSAC website. Published by BSAC every year, the 2013 report recorded a total of 263 incidents throughout the UK.
The number of incidents reported this year is about 29% lower than the level of recent years and it follows the trend noted in 2012. This reduction is due to a lower number of incidents reported in the period March to June. It is believed that this was caused by the very poor weather conditions in the UK during this period resulting in a reduced amount of diving taking place. Other highlighted conclusions from the latest report include:

  • The number of fatalities of BSAC members is slightly below the average of the previous 10 years.
  • The number of fatalities of non-BSAC members is in line with the average of the previous 10 years.
  • The causal factors associated with these fatalities and other incidents are very similar to those seen over a number of years; no new causal factors have been identified.
  • Diver age and related health and fitness issues are still featuring as critical factors in this and recent years’ fatalities. The average age of the subjects of this year’s diving fatalities was 52.2. The average age of the background diving population in 2013 is 42.5.
  • Incidents of DCI continue to fall.
  • Ascent related incidents continue to reduce.
  • Incidents relating to ‘Boating & Surface’ events have dropped back to earlier levels.

The above conclusions need to be viewed in the light of a probable overall reduction in the amount of UK diving that has taken place in this period. However, as has been stated many times before, most of the incidents reported within this document could have been avoided had those involved followed a few basic principles of safe diving practice. BSAC publishes a booklet called ‘Safe Diving’ (new edition imminent) which summarises all the key elements of safe diving and is available to all, free of charge, from the http://www.bsac.com/page.asp?section=1019

Help us to keep diving safe – If you have been involved in or witnessed an incident, please report it – in confidence – and help us to continue to shape a safe future for diving. Whether you are BSAC or another agency, a recreational or technical diver or if the incident happened in the UK or overseas, we want to hear about it. All reports are treated in confidence and any details used in future reports will be anonymous.
You can report incidents at any time online.

RNLI scheme helps sea anglers stay safe

A new pilot scheme created by the RNLI is aiming to help keep sea anglers safe while they enjoy their sport. Last year 11 sea anglers tragically lost their lives while fishing in the UK* and the RNLI responded to over 1,200 incidents involving anglers. The RNLI is working with bait and tackle shops to pilot a Retail Ambassador Scheme, in which the charity helps the shops give their customers safety advice.
Chris Adams, RNLI Coastal Safety Manager, said:

‘It is not about preventing people fishing from rocks or exposed shorelines, but helping them take the right steps to enjoy their sport safely. ’

There are some simple things that anglers can do to keep themselves safe:

–          wear a lifejacket

–          Check the weather and tides before you head out

–          Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back

–          Carry a means of calling for help

–          If you’re fishing from a boat, keep it well maintained.

*Statistics taken from the National Water Safety Forum’s Water Incident Database (WAID).Download Tackle shops help the RNLI keep anglers safe

England’s bathing waters see record improvement

New figures show that almost 99 per cent of England’s bathing waters meet strict quality standards. Water quality around England’s coasts has dramatically improved since last year, new figures from Defra have revealed today. Nearly all of England’s bathing waters have met strict quality standards, with almost 99 per cent of England’s bathing waters meeting the minimum European water quality standard, and over 82 per cent, the highest ever number of bathing waters – meeting the tighter guideline standard. Environment Minister, Dan Rogerson said: “England’s bathing waters have seen record improvements, meeting the highest standard this year and we need to make sure they continue to remain of good quality. Having quality bathing water and beaches is not only good for the environment but also boosts tourism and creates a stronger local economy. From 2015 the water quality at Britain’s beaches will be measured against stricter levels. The revised EU Bathing Water Directive sets much higher water quality standards which are approximately twice as stringent as the current standards”.

Lord Chris Smith, Chairman of the Environment Agency, said: “The improvement in the quality of UK bathing waters this year is really good news, but with much stricter standards coming into force in 2015, we cannot afford to be complacent. The Environment Agency is working hard with local authorities, businesses and water companies to ensure that bathing waters meet the new standards, and the seaside tourist economy in England continues to thrive”.

Bathing water results for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are published by the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Department of Environment Northern Ireland respectively. For more information on the Improving water quality policy go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/improving-water-quality

Bathing waters in England: 2013 compliance report

New Report Assesses Inland Accidental Drowning Risk

The new report from RoSPA based on WAID data has identified a number of clear risk factors, enabling a more coordinated, effective and targeted approach to drowning prevention strategies.

The report ‘Assessing Inland Accidental Drowning Risk’ was funded by the RoSPA/ BNFL Scholarship scheme, and is the first report to conduct an in-depth analysis of the WAID dataset. A finding of note include a disproportionate (50% higher) rate of drowning among Welsh and Scottish males, when compared to English counterparts.

Other findings of note were:

More water + more people = more incidents. The rate of accidental inland drowning varies greatly between areas depending on the amount of water and the number of people in that area.

Leisure Safety_Summer 2013_inland risks report pic 2

The predominant hazard is “open water”, such as rivers, lakes and canals, in which 81 per cent of the deaths that were analysed, occurred. There is a stark difference with indoor swimming pools; in which just 2.7 per cent of deaths occurred.

Higher risk for Scottish and Welsh men: The rate of drowning is far higher in Scotland & Wales. The rate of death for males is over double that of females, for all three countries. Males in general have higher rates of drowning than females, particularly teenagers and young men.

Activity based risk: Whilst the risk of death is not assessed to be intolerable for any individual sport, the rate of death does vary greatly between sports. However the majority of deaths (68 per cent) involved “day-to-day” activities such as walking by water.

The project was developed in conjunction with a Forum working group including inland, and the watersports members. This report is the first in series of risk analysis developed by Forum members, and these along with the developement of a national drowning prevention strategy will be presented at the UK water safety conference in October.

More information on the WAID system can be found here.

The ‘Assessing Inland Accidental Drowning Risk Short Report ‘ can be viewed here.

Drowning Prevention Week has begun! 22nd – 30th June 2013

Drowning Prevention Week has begun!

This national campaign aims to reduce the number of drowning and near drowning incidences that occur in the UK.

The awareness raising campaign is predominantly aimed at children, and throughout the week water safety is promoted in schools, leisure centres, local communities, businesses and widely through the media.

A host of free resources that help to deliver water safety messages are available on the website http://www.drowningpreventionweek.org.uk, such as an animated film, interactive games, children’s activities, leaflets, lesson plans and pool session ideas.

DPW Logo

Drowning Prevention Week 2013

Why should I wear a Lifejacket or Buoyancy Aid when i’m angling?

The lives of at least nine anglers may have been saved in 2012; had they been wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid. Of the nine anlgers that died; seven were shore-based.

Fishing from the rocks

In 2012, five of the seven shore anglers who might have been saved had they been wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid – were fishing from rocks. Over the last six years, at least 41 might have been saved if they had worn some form of buoyancy device. Most anglers recognise the importance of wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid when they are onboard a small boat. But do you wear one when you’re fishing from rocks?

Unexpected large waves can wash you off rock marks. Be aware and prepare, by wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid.

Who has compiled these statistics?
These figures have been compiled by an expert panel review comprising: Angling Trust, RNLI, Royal Yachting Association, Marine Accident Investigation Branch, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, National Water Safety Forum, British Canoe Union, the lifejacket industry, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and University of Portsmouth.

The panel uses data supplied from Coastguard and MAIB databases and therefore only covers coastal incidents. Other inland fatal angling incidents, where a lifejacket might have saved a life may have occurred during 2012, but these are not included for this exercise.

In March 2013 the panel reviewed the Coastguard/MAIB data and assessed whether a lifejacket or buoyancy aid would have made a difference in saving a person’s life. A decision was made about whether it was probable, possible or unlikely that the person would have been saved by wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid. The panel also took into consideration factors such as whether the lifejacket or buoyancy aid was suitably maintained, correctly worn and fit for purpose. In some cases it was not appropriate for the person to be wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid, for example swimmers.

Figures for all activities
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) recorded 132 maritime fatalities in 2012. The expert panel reviewed 45 of these where the casualty might have worn a lifejacket or buoyancy aid (so cliff fallers, suicides and so on were not included).

Of the 45 fatalities, the panel judged that it may have been appropriate for 27 people to have been wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid. Of these 27, the panel agreed that 20 would probably or could possibly have been saved had they been wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid.

Figures have been compiled by the panel for the last six years and during that period the panel judged that 136 people’s lives might have been saved had they been wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid.
Read the full blog at: http://hmcoastguard.blogspot.co.uk/
Read Personal Buoyancy Afloat: http://www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/professional/bouyancyafloat.asp