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.’

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ASA celebrates School Swimming anniversary

Today marks 125 years of School Swimming and the ASA were joined by Sports Minister, Tracey Crouch to celebrate the occasion.

Also attending the School Swimming anniversary at Everyone Active’s Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre were double Olympic gold medal winner Rebecca Adlington OBE, former World Champion Mark Foster and 2004 bronze Olympic medallist Steve Parry.

The Olympians dressed in Victorian costumes and gave 125 school pupils from the local area to a Victorian-style school swimming lesson. They then changed into 2015 costumes to teach a modern lesson to the children. They taught speed swimming, water polo and synchronised swimming.

See the ASA site for more information:  http://www.swimming.org/schoolswimming/asa-celebrates-school-swimming-anniversary/

UK drowning prevention strategy to be launched at RoSPA National Water Safety Seminar

RoSPA National Water Safety Seminar.
The Lowry, Salford Quays – Manchester, October 17

Salford

The July heat-wave saw a large number of drowning events occur in the UK, with open water looking more inviting than ever – and it’s hidden risks less apparent.

This sadly predictable spike in this year’s figures continues to pose the question: what is the most effective way to address the UK’s current drowning problem?

Seminar delivers call to action
This year’s RoSPA National Water Safety Seminar, takes place on October 17, and sees the launch of the UK’s first water safety and drowning prevention strategy.
An essential first step to turning the statistics around, the first public presentation of the new strategy will be delivered at the seminar by NWSF Chair, Michael Vlasto OBE, and RLSS UK Chief Executive, Di Standley.

Looking at the sources of the UK’s 400 annual drowning-related fatalities, the presentation will deliver a call to action, showing how we can collectively band around it’s ideas to each play a valuable part in driving change and saving lives.

Analysing WAID data and behaviour
The last two outings of the popular event have seen updates on the development of the WAID Database. With enough data now collected to enabling meaningful comparison and insight with other sectors, this year’s seminar will hear how WAID data can be used to produce risk evidence in support of safety strategy.

Other key research and updates will also feature, making the a ‘must attend’ event, with content relevant to all water safety environments.

Early discount rates for the event expire on September 5, 2013 with additional discounts available to RoSPA Members and National Water Safety Forum Members. View the programme here.

NWSF News & Updates August ’13

England rugby star James Haskell launches RNLI Respect the Water campaign
The RNLI launched a new drowning awareness and water safety campaign – ‘Respect the Water’ – in Brighton during August. The campaign, was launched by England Rugby International and London Wasps flanker James Haskell, and was trialled throughout August in Sussex, Kent and Hampshire aiming to highlight the risks around the coast, with the long-term goal of reducing the number of incidents and fatalities. To highlight the need for the campaign, the charity has revealed some key statistics about coastal fatalities:
– Around 150 people die around the UK coast each year – that’s more than those killed in cycling accidents.
– Six times more men drown around the coast each year than women.
– Key causes of coastal drownings are rip currents; cold water shock; slips, trip and falls; alcohol and fatigue.
– Cold water shock can occur in any temperature below 15 o C. The average sea temperature in the UK is just 12o C.
The campaign, which offers key safety tips, has a particular focus on men aged 25-65, as this demographic represents the biggest number of fatalities.
Key causes of coastal fatalities in the UK are: rip currents; cold water shock; slips, trip and falls; alcohol and fatigue.
For more information and safety tips go to: http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/England-rugby-star-James-Haskell-launches-RNLI-Respect-the-Water-campaign.aspx

Calling all divers! Help compile the 2013 BSAC’s Annual Incident Report and contribute to a research project…..

BSAC’s Annual Incident Report 2013 deadline fast approaching
The closing date for incident submissions for BSAC’s Annual Incident Report is 14th October 2013.
Every year, BSAC compiles a comprehensive Annual Incident Report to aid diver safety by sharing information and allowing all divers to learn from the reports of others.
The reporting year runs from 1st October to 30th September each year to fit with both the diving season and to allow compilation of the report in time for publication. It is important that all reports are submitted as soon as possible in order to be included in this year’s report and so we would remind all members to submit reports for any incidents, occurring between 1st October 2012 and 30th September 2013, by Monday 14th October. The data provided by in BSAC’s Annual report is also used by the WAter Incident Database, and contributes to the Annual UK water related fatality reports. About WAID: http://www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/waid/index.asp
Incident Report Form: Copies of an electronic Incident Report Form are available for download (where you can also download copies of previous reports) Please note that all reports are treated in strictest confidence and reassurance that names and other identifying characteristics are not included in the published report.

Divers called on to help RNLI with safety research
Divers and dive instructors are being called on to help lifesaving charity the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) with important research into participation and attitudes to risk and safety in the sport by taking part in an online survey. Last year alone, 314 diving incidents were reported to the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC).
With the support of BSAC, the RNLI, in partnership with the British Diving Safety Group (BDSG), is asking divers and dive instructors in the UK to take ten minutes to complete an online survey, which looks at their reasons for participating in diving, how often they take to the water, preferred methods and locations, experience and training, awareness of possible hazards and use of safety measures.
The findings will be used to help the RNLI and BDSG develop tailored and relevant safety messages for the diving community, to help make the sport even safer. Launched on 27 August, the survey run for nine weeks, during which time anyone who dives in the UK – no matter how often or what level of experience, can take part. Take a few minutes of your time to support this valuable research and complete the survey at http://www.rnlidiving.substance.coop

Invitation for all Hire Boat Operators to Attend Open Forums – to improve safety
The UK’s inland waterway navigation authorities are inviting boat hire operators and other interested parties to participate in a general review of hirer safety, and especially to attend regional open forums across the UK. These are the key questions at the top of the review –
How safe is hire-boating?
What are the biggest risks?
What, if anything, should we do to reduce them?
The review, which is limited to self-drive, powered hire boats, with or without overnight accommodation, has the intention of striking an appropriate balance between the roles and responsibilities of the navigation authorities, hire operators and hirers in ensuring hirer safety.
The outcomes will influence the Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) standards for hire boats, which were last reviewed in 2002, as well as ensure that safety-focused licensing conditions for hire boat operators are proportionate. By the end of the event, participants will have:
– Shared their knowledge and experience of hirer safety
– Had the opportunity to influence the BSS hire boat requirements and navigation authority hire boat licensing conditions relevant to hirer safety
– Helped to define the roles and responsibilities that the navigation authorities, hire operators and the hirers themselves have for safe boating
To find out more about the hirer safety review and, if you are a hire operator to find the link for the event booking form go to http://www.boatsafetyscheme.org/hirer-safety-review-2013 .

150 Incidents in three months: Do you know how to operate your Personal Water Craft?
In the past three months, HM Coastguard has seen an increase in the number of calls about jet skis or personal water craft (PWC). From 1st May to 1st August 2013, the number of incidents logged on HM Coastguard’s database totalled more than 150. These ranged from mechanical issues, running out of fuel or even concern that PWCs were too close to swimmers. In comparison to the same period last year (2012), HM Coastguard recorded 95 incidents. Chris Turner, HM Coastguard’s National Liaison Officer for Jet Skis and PWCs, said:
“You need to make sure you know how to operate these powerful machines. The last thing you want is to find yourself in the water after being thrown off. This is also why we always recommend that you wear a buoyancy aid and ensure you’re using a kill cord, so if you end up in the water, the engine will stop. It’s also worth taking with you a hand held VHF radio, so you can contact the Coastguard if you get into difficulty. A Personal Locator Beacon ( PLB) may be useful for more remote locations, along with mini flares and a charged mobile phone. Jet skis and PWCs have gone too fast and too close to shore. This is a concern to us as it’s putting swimmers and other beach-goers in danger. The advice is simple. Check if any bylaws are in place, stick to them and be respectful of others in the water. If you see anyone in difficulty at the coast, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.” http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/mcga07-home/newsandpublications/press-releases.htm?id=F6E274551527E6F7&m=8&y=2013

The 2013 RoSPA National Water Safety Seminar: “Risk research and reality: empowering local prevention” is to be held on October 17th, at The Lowry, Salford Quays.
Organised by RoSPA with the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF), the RoSPA National Water Safety Seminar is recognised as the key annual multi-discipline update event for UK water safety professionals.
Opening with the introduction of the UK’s first water safety and drowning strategy, the seminar provides a mix of conference style learning updates, multiple topic tracks, and outdoor workshops – aiming to inform and resource you in your own role. For further information please contact : events@rospa.com

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.

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Drowning Prevention Week 2013

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

A fun day had by all at the first ‘Big Bay Dip’

The Surf Life Saving GB event ‘Big Bay Dip’ charity swim open water swim event was at Broadsands in Paignton, on Sunday 29th July, in which 65 swimmers took part. The inaugural Big Bay Dip gave inexperienced swimmers as well as those who enjoy open water swimming regularly, a chance to take part in a unique event for charity. Read more on the SLGB website…

Chiefton: MAIB Accident Investigation Report

MAIB Report on the investigation of the collision, capsize and foundering of the tug Chiefton with the loss of one crew member, at Greenwich Reach, River Thames on 12 August 2011. Report No 12/2012. Download the report from the MAIB website…A Safety Flyer was also produced for this incident and can also be viewed on the MAIB website:Safety Flyer

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…

Disability proves no barrier for Swimathon achievement

Swimming has given a disabled man from Canterbury the delight of achieving a personal goal when he successfully took part in the Swimathon Sports Relief Team Mile at Hartsdown Pool in Margate. 43 year old Andrew Warden has learning and physical disabilities and has always loved the water. Since becoming a resident at Avenues Trust Smock Acre care home in Canterbury, he has been supported by staff to enjoy swimming safely. Some of his carers made up the rest of the Swimathon team of five and provided support for Andrew in the water.

…nowadays having a severe disability such as Andrew has is not a barrier to being involved in sport. Swimming is Andrew’s main hobby and over the past four years has given him enormous benefits. By building up his physical strength, he is now swimming at least twice a week at Kings Mead Swimming Pool in Canterbury and Hartsdown Pool in Margate.

Lara Lill is Head of Health and Wellbeing at the ASA, the governing body for swimming and its associated disciplines in England.

“What a wonderful achievement this is – one of the great things about swimming is that it’s a fully inclusive activity for everyone to take part in. It’s a fantastic sport for adults and children with disabilities or special needs because the water is weight-bearing, which means it’s perfect for therapy and recovery. It’s already the favourite sport of many disabled adults like Andrew because it has amazing benefits with confidence-building and all the health and fitness aspects.”

Sarah Carberry, Acting House Manager at Avenues Smock Acre, said: “The Swimathon has been a great way of helping Andrew integrate into the community by participating in a local event with people he knows and surroundings he is familiar with. When Andrew finished his lengths I told him he had finished and pointed up to his mum telling him she was watching him, Andrew gave the biggest smile I’ve ever seen.”

“Andrew is now capable of swimming with very little support in the water and can swim between six and ten lengths of the pool. We are very pleased that Andrew has progressed so well with his swimming over the past few years. He has difficulty communicating but it was clear the first time he got in the pool that he enjoys swimming.

“Together with employees at the swimming pool, our Support Workers have worked with Andrew in the pool, encouraging him to swim independently. He is now well known at the local swimming pools who have all been very accommodating and supportive so it’s been really useful to raise awareness of disability in the community.”

Stella Warden, Andrew’s mum is also very pleased with the progress Andrew has made: “I am very happy and proud that Andrew was able to do the Swimathon. I was in tears as I watched him, it was such an achievement him just being part of it.”

Andrew’s sister Leslee Samuel had never seen him swim before she watched him take part: “It is enormously pleasing to see that nowadays having a severe disability such as Andrew has is not a barrier to being involved in sport or charity fundraising. Andrew loves to swim and I am sure he would be thrilled to realise he has raised several hundred pounds for charity by doing something he enjoys.”

Avenues provide a lot of support to disabled people across London, the South East and East Anglia, including a sport and active lifestyles project to get more disabled people active and regular supported swimming sessions for disabled people in Suffolk via Optua.

To get involved in swimming and find your nearest club use our Pool Finder – put in your postcode to find your local pool and ask about disability swimming lessons and clubs where you’ll find the right facilities with ASA qualified professionals. Read Andrew’s story on the swimming.org website…