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