Drowning Prevention Week 22nd – 30th June 2013

Drowning Prevention Week is runs from 22nd to the 30th June 2013, is a national campaign run by the Royal Life Saving Society UK to promote water safety messages and help reduce incidents of drowning.

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Drowning Prevention Week 2013

More than 400 people drown in the UK each year, and thousands suffer near-drowning experiences. Drowning Prevention Week encourages schools, clubs, leisure centres and communities to come up with new and exciting ways to show people how they can have fun and stay safe around water.

There are lots of ways you can take part, to see how you can get involved go to: http://www.drowningpreventionweek.org.uk

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News and Updates May ’13

Fisherman Launch new film titled – Lifejacket: A Fisherman’s Friend
Two Bridlington fishermen have made a short film to encourage their fellow fishermen to wear lifejackets whilst at sea. The two minute film, entitled "Lifejacket: a fisherman's friend" is available at
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The decision to make the film came after a panel of experts concluded that 26 fishermen could still be alive today had they been wearing a lifejacket when they were involved in an incident at sea (2007-11 figures). The Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG), were so alarmed by the new statistic that they put the idea of a short film forward to fishermen Dylan Silverwood and Christopher Stewart. They then made the film, with some help from FISG members.
"I wouldn't like to go to sea without a lifejacket", says salmon fisherman Dylan Silverwood. "When you hit the water, you start gasping like a fish, so unless you've got your lifejacket on, you could be in real difficulties. If you're a fisherman, please watch our little film and consider buying a lifejacket and using it whenever you set to sea. It really is quite easy to wear one – a lifejacket isn't heavy or cumbersome – and it could save your life."
This is the first in a series of films that fishermen will be making about buoyancy wear for different types of fishing.

Southwold Pier-to-Pub Swim: Dozens rescued from the sea
Dozens of people taking part in a charity sea swim off Suffolk had to be rescued after getting into difficulty.
More than 130 swimmers in Southwold had problems, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) confirmed. Four RNLI lifeboats and a rescue helicopter were involved from about 13:00 BST, after initial reports that up to 90 people were missing.
Two people were taken to James Paget Hospital in Gorleston with suspected hypothermia, the MCA spokeswoman added. The organisers of the race have not yet commented on the rescue operation.
The MCA spokeswoman said it was unclear how the swimmers got into trouble as weather conditions were fine, but the water was “very cold”. Some swimmers were rescued by lifeboat while a number of people swam to the shore themselves, she said.
Eyewitnesses spoke of exhausted swimmers coming out of the sea and being wrapped in towels, while a lifeboat hut close to the pier was turned into a makeshift emergency centre.
Organised by Active Outdoor Sport, the swim started north of the pier and was due to finish a mile down the coast. Read the full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-22674418

Scrapping of HSE offshore division will undermine safety, survey finds
A survey released today of 5000 North Sea oil and gas workers has found that 75% believe the Governments decision to scrap the Health and Safety Executive’s offshore division will undermine offshore safety.
The survey, released by OilandGasPeople.com, also found 62% were worried that the scrapping of the unit would lead to another Piper Alpha disaster. The oil and gas workers questioned the timing of the decision to close the division two months before the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha Disaster. The setting up of the dedicated HSE offshore division was a key recommendation of Lord Cullen’s report into ways to prevent another disaster taking place. The decision also comes at a time when oil and gas workers are feeling more at risk. 72% believe that it is the worst possible time to close the Health and Safety Executive’s offshore division, given recent concerns over ageing platforms and closures of platforms due to safety issues, such as the recent leak at the Cormorant Alpha platform.

“While there is no doubt that safety on North Sea oil and gas rigs has improved immeasurable since Lord Cullen’s report into the Piper Alpha disaster, our survey clearly shows that rig workers are concerned by the timing of the decision to cut one of Lord Cullen’s key recommendations, in the year of the 25thanniversary of the disaster itself,” said Kevin Forbes, CEO of Oilandgaspeople.com.

“What’s more, the decision comes at a time when workers are feeling greater concern because of ageing platforms and recent leaks, such as on the Cormorant Alpha platform. It isn’t surprisingly that the combination of the cutting of the HSE dedicated offshore division and ageing platforms has left many offshore workers feeling more at risk,” he said.
Read the full story: http://www.oilandgaspeople.com/news/717/scrapping-of-hse-offshore-division-will-undermine-safety-survey-finds/

The Met Office Watersports Survey

The Met office http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/

The Met Office is the UK’s National Weather Service, and currently provides forecasts for around 450 beaches around the UK, with hourly updates.

The Met Office is recognised as one of the world’s most accurate forecasters, using more than 10 million weather observations a day to create 3,000 tailored forecasts and briefings a day. These are delivered to a huge range of customers from the Government, to businesses, the general public, armed forces, and other organisations. More information on the Met Office: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us 

This is a web based survey of the Great British public, and is aiming to ascertain the potential requirements for a new weather information service aimed at leisure/ marine/ sports participants.

The survey will test the types of weather and sea the conditions that are viewed as important or those can affect the participants of different activities, shaping how, when and the way that the Met Office provide information.

Working with partners such as the RNLI, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency and Plymouth University the Met Office will use the information to develop new content that improves safety, for example forecasting whether there is an increased risk of a rip current at a site, under particular weather conditions.

To find out more, or to take part in the survey please go to: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/watersports-survey

James Cracknell and Richard Benyon call for people to love their rivers

Double Olympic gold medal-winning rower James Cracknell and Natural Environment Minister Richard Benyon today urged the public to show their support for the ‘Love Your River’ campaign. The campaign encourages people to value their local river and shows the relationship between water in a river and the water used in the home.

Richard Benyon and James Cracknell, the new Love Your River Campaign Adviser, both donned wellingtons before stepping into the River Chess in Chesham, joined by local school children in an activity called ’kick-sampling’ (an activity used to monitor a river’s environmental health).

Working in support of the ‘Love Your River’ campaign, Thames Water and the River Chess Association were there to show James Cracknell and Richard Benyon how water companies and local community groups are working together to improve the water quality on the River Chess. Natural Environment Minister Richard Benyon said:

“I am delighted that James Cracknell has come on board as the ‘Love Your River’ Campaign Adviser. James has a great passion for rivers and is the perfect person to explain the many benefits that rivers bring to our everyday lives. We rely on rivers for much of the water we use, so it is in all our interest that we protect and cherish them. The fact that so many organisations and individuals have come together to back this campaign shows the importance we all place on making sure our actions don’t damage our rivers.”

James Cracknell Love Your River Campaign Adviser, said:

“I’m really pleased to be joining the ‘Love Your River’ campaign. Going to school in Kingston, I’ve experienced first-hand the benefits a river can bring to a community – not only for physical activity, but socially and fiscally also. We’ve all got a role to play in making sure our rivers are as healthy as they can be and I’m pleased to be involved.” The website for the ‘Love Your River’ campaign can be found at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/loveyourriver

New video for divers promotes the benefits and safe use of closed circuit rebreathers (CCR)

A new video has been produced for divers to give them a solid foundation in the key benefits and safety considerations of using closed circuit rebreathers (CCRs) – a technology often referred to as enabling “bubble-free” diving. CCR use, which is historically associated with military and cave diving, is expected to rise sharply among recreational divers over the next few years. With CCR technology accepted to be developing fast, the CCR Aware video is targeted at those new to rebreather diving as well as existing users who might be at risk of becoming complacent.

There are about 250,000 divers in the UK and, at present, it is thought only a small percentage (estimates are between 1.6 per cent and four per cent) use CCRs, although the number of users could be rising by about 400 a year. Internationally, the potential CCR market is huge; for example, there are 1.2million divers in Germany alone.

The CCR Aware video is the result of a project led by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), which, in 2011, was asked by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to investigate and promote the safe use of CCRs. Twenty diving organisations have been involved in the project. RoSPA worked with rebreather industry experts to identify the key safety issues. In order to reach the international diving community we created the RoSPA CCR Aware film, which gives divers and those new to rebreathers a solid awareness of the key safety factors for diving with rebreathers.

RoSPA CCR Aware has been created to help you make informed choices about your diving and we’re sure that it will be of interest as a reminder for experienced rebreather divers. For more information regarding Closed Circuit rebreathers please go to: www.rospa.com/ccr-aware/ –

Olympic diver launches bid to prevent drowning

Last week, British Olympic diver Nick Robinson-Baker launched a national campaign to reduce drowning and promote water safety. Nick, who became a lifesaver when he rescued fellow diver Monique Gladding from the water at a World Cup meeting in Russia last year, is spearheading the campaign by the Royal Lifesaving Society UK (RLSS UK).
The official launch of Water Safety Awareness Week, (which takes place June 16 to 24), comes following research revealed last month by Kellogg’s and the ASA that over a third of children are leaving primary school unable to swim 25 metres unaided. This is despite swimming being a statutory element of the National Curriculum and drowning being the third most common cause of accidental death in children.
RLSS UK hopes its national campaign will help to reduce the annual number of accidental deaths from drowning in the UK. Latest available figures, from the National Water Safety Forum, show that there were 420 accidental deaths from drowning in 2010 – one nearly every 17 hours.
Nick, aged 24, who is competing at London’s 2012 Games, said:
“Every drowning is a tragedy. With an average of 400 accidental deaths from drowning each year more needs to be done to raise awareness of how to be safe in, on and near water. I hope that this campaign can help to educate people about the potential dangers. This isn’t about telling people to stay away from water, but about knowing how to enjoy water safely, understand the risks and what to do in the event of a problem. I had a real wake-up shock when I had to rescue Monique last year. You never think that you’ll need to save someone in the water, and the truth is that I didn’t have a clue what to do, adrenaline took over, and luckily it turned out ok. Now I’d like to do whatever I can to convince people to become more aware that accidents in the water do happen and we should all know what to do if the worst does happen.”
Key safety tips being promoted during Water Safety Awareness Week include understanding beach flags and signs, taking time to check tide times and ensuring that you won’t be cut off when the tide comes in. At inland water sites, they include only swimming at lifeguarded lakes and always wearing a buoyancy aid when on the water.
Find out more about the campaign at the Water Safety Awareness Week website and follow the Week on Twitter at #WSAW2012. Find out more about the ASA’s School Swimming Manifesto and what you can do to raise awareness of learning to swim, go to the swimming.org website…

Stay safe by the water this summer

Now that the summer is officially here and the days are getting warmer the British Waterways is urging visitors to the 2,000 miles of canal to enjoy the waters safely. 12 million people visit the waterways each year and the canals and rivers are more popular than ever. Although they may look tempting to cool off in on a hot summer’s day, British Waterways is urging people to stay safe and keep out of the water.

Canals are a real haven for people and nature and have something to offer everyone, from walkers and cyclists to boaters and anglers, families on days out and those wanting to enjoy the sunshine. Although the water may look inviting, any open body of water can pose a hazard, particularly to unsupervised children or anyone under the influence of alcohol.
People should resist the temptation to take a dip. The water is frequently colder than expected and can bring on cramps and sap energy of even the strongest swimmers. Dangers from strong current and faster flowing water around locks and weirs could also drag swimmers into danger. Contact with canal or river water can also bring about nasty stomach illnesses or Weil’s disease which although rare can be serious.

Tony Stammers, British Waterways’ Head of Health and Safety, said: “The canals are a great place to visit on a warm summer’s day as not only will visitors see lots of boats on the water but you will also see a wide variety of wildlife fluttering along the towpath. Canals, rivers and reservoirs are not suitable places for swimming as they may have hidden dangers lurking beneath the water that could cause serious injury if someone was to jump in. They can also be deep and the water quite cold which can quickly cause someone to get into trouble. It is far safer and much more fun to visit your local swimming pool or lido to cool off in the summer heat.” Read more on the British Waterways website…

Children learn life saving skills

Children from around the country are being given the chance to learn about the dangers posed by open water this summer thanks to vital life-saving scheme Get Safe 4 Summer. The youngsters are being taught water safety skills at a number of pools from next week as part of Get Safe 4 Summer, an educational and water safety campaign run by the ASA with events supported by Swimathon Foundation.

The ASA’s Get Safe 4 Summer campaign is all about raising awareness that swimming in open water such as lakes, rivers, canals and the sea is very different from the pool.

The events teach children about the dangers of open water, as well as highlighting that swimming is the only sport that can save your life. ASA Chief Executive David Sparkes said: “The ability to recognise dangers and knowledge of water safety is just as important as being able to swim.  Particularly important during the summer holidays, the ASA’s Get Safe 4 Summer campaign is all about raising awareness that swimming in open water such as lakes, rivers, canals and the sea is very different from the pool.  We want everyone to be able to enjoy the water but in a safe and sensible way.”

Swimathon Foundation Chairman Anthony Kendall said: ” We are very pleased to support the ASA and The Swimming Trust in teaching youngsters about the importance of swimming and water safety.  It is exactly what we, as a Foundation, stand for.”
The events will consist of an action-packed few hours in the water with a host of fun and educational activities. They include attendance from the RLSS who are also running a Water Safety Awareness Week 16th-24th June.

Schools, leisure facilities and swim schools can get involved by holding their own Get Safe 4 Summer event.  Supporting resources are available to download online, including a Pool Event Pack with details of what, when and who should be involved, posters and certificates to reward the young people attending. Read more on the ASA website…

New research reveals one in three children leave primary school unable to swim

Learning to swim at an early age can ultimately go on to save a child’s life and with drowning being the third most common cause of accidental death in children, it’s concerning to learn that one in three children are now leaving school unable to swim.

The startling new research carried out by Kellogg’s and the ASA has revealed that around 200,000 children will leave primary school this summer unable to swim, amounting to an astonishing 2million non-swimmers over the next ten years.

Of those children unable to swim, nearly 40% have never been offered school swimming lessons despite it being a statutory element of the National Curriculum.

In response to the findings the ASA and Kellogg’s are today (Thursday 17 May) meeting with the government to urge parliamentarians, policy makers, local authorities and relevant organisations to prioritise the only sport that saves lives so every child has the opportunity to learn to swim irrespective of socio-economic and ethnic background.

The research also highlighted the role of parents in helping their children learn to swim and discovered that without school swimming many children would miss out completely on the chance to learn as one in six parents admits they never take their child swimming.

Other NWSF members were also involved with the event at the launch of the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) school swimming strategy, a private event held at Westminster Hall. Representatives from RoSPA, Surf Life Saving GB and The Royal Life Saving Society UK were all at the event. Read more on the swimming.org website…

SLSGB supports ASA swim strategy to improve children’s swimming

SLSGB Chief Executive Esther Pearson today (17 May) represented SLSGB at the launch of the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) school swimming strategy, a private event held at Westminster Hall.

It was announced today that a third of all children leaving primary school are unable to swim 25m unaided, putting children’s lives at risk. Water Accident and Incident Database (WAID) data suggests that drowning is the third most common form of accidental death in children in the UK, and 57 of the 400 drownings each year being children. Many argue that if they were able to swim that statistic would be lot lower.

The ASA today launched a new swim strategy, focused on encouraging schools and local authorities to deliver swimming. Esther Pearson said:

“SLSGB is right behind the campaign promoting swimming and tackling this shocking issue, but we believe that there is a lack of facilities and it’s often expensive to swim and have lessons in leisure centres. Getting water confidence is about getting to know your environment as well as being able to swim, which is why our Nippers programmes are so important for children.” Read more on the SLSGB website…