£915,000 boost to water rescue charities

Almost £1 million has been awarded by Maritime Minister Robert Goodwill today (18 February 2016) to 51 UK charities to support water rescue services in local communities.

The government scheme gives voluntary groups crucial funding for new equipment and training to support their rescue efforts on and around inland and inshore waterways.

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The money is for the purchase of lifeboats, launch vehicles, rafts and safety gear, as well as going towards training and other costs to support lifesaving efforts.

This is the second year of the 5 year scheme. In January 2015 more than £800,000 was awarded to 21 charities across the UK.

See the full recipients at www.gov.uk

 

 

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

NWSF News & Updates September ’13

BSAC’s Annual Incident Report 2013 deadline is 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 report will be presented by BSAC’s Safety Adviser Brian Cumming at the BSAC Diving Conference at the NEC on Saturday, 26th October. Read more or report an incident: http://www.bsac.com/page.asp?section=1046&sectionTitle=Incident+Reporting

#SAVEWAVE: A Wave of support that put RNLI rescue stories in front of 1.8M people
The RNLI’s #SAVEWAVE campaign has been running during the summer months. A simple idea of allowing the RNLI to post stories over your Twitter/ Facebook profiles to your followers has created a campaign that reached 1.8 million people. Over the 7 week period, the RNLI posted the week’s most dramatic rescues across social media on behalf of the 6,000 strong campaign’s supporters. #SaveWave, has quickly helped build awareness of the RNLI’s lifesaving work. RNLI volunteers rescue, on average 150 people every week. See the #SAVEWAVE video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAONhO4aZXQ&feature=youtu.be
More ways to support the RNLI: http://rnli.org/howtosupportus/Pages/How-to-support-us.aspx

Before you book your next dive holiday, check out BSAC Trip Reports
Malta, Gozo, Orkney Islands and Marsa Shagra are the latest dive destinations to be covered by the BSAC Trip Reports, written and submitted by travelling divers and now available online. An invaluable port of call if you are starting to plan your next big dive trip, the reports are part of the BSAC Trip report service, which hosts hundreds of first-hand dive holiday accounts, both in the UK and worldwide. Written by BSAC members, Trip Reports provide uncensored testimonies on the best – and not so great – holiday experiences to help you make up your mind. Check out the Trip Reports section where you will also find guidance on how to submit your own holiday report.
Trip Reports: http://www.bsac.com/news.asp?itemid=13313&itemTitle=Before+you+book+your+next+dive+holiday%2C+check+out+BSAC+Trip+Reports&section=56&sectionTitle=News&month=9&year=2013

Swansea and Stirling’s elite swimming centres under threat
British Swimming has given the strongest indication yet that centres of excellence in Swansea and Stirling could lose their International Training Centre (ITC) status.
The sport suffered a £4,000,000 funding cut after winning just three of their five targeted medals at London 2012. The centres at Loughborough and Bath are believed to be safe. British Swimming has been investigating ways of reducing operating costs since suffering the funding cut. The sport had operated five ITCs in the build up to London 2012, but the one at Stockport was axed in February. Talks with representatives from both threatened centres are on-going, but those from Swansea will meet with British Swimming officials for a crucial meeting about their situation next week.
Scottish Swimming says it is working hard with British Swimming and is in constant dialogue with their counterparts over the future of the centre in Stirling. It stresses that, while the review is underway, preparations for Scottish swimmers using the facility at Stirling will not be affected and it is business as usual. Read the full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/wales/23962233

MPs to debate Coastguard’s report
Westminster Hall debate: The Coastguard, Emergency towing vessels and the Maritime incident response group – Follow up. The Westminster Hall debate will be on Thursday 17th October in Westminster Hall at 13.30. The debate will discuss the Committee’s Sixth Report of Session 2012-13.
Having secured changes to the Government’s original proposals, saving some stations from closure and keeping all remaining stations as 24-hour operations, the Coastguard service report, receiving worrying information about the impact of recent reforms.
The report focuses on changes to the Coastguard Service, and draws considerable attention to the problems of; low morale and the loss of experienced staff with exemplary local knowledge – which came through station closure and amalgamation. The report will be the subject of the first debate of the afternoon, before a debate on a report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.
http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/news/coastguards—wh-debate/

The Summer Holidays are here, have fun and “Stay Safe at the Seaside!”

Now that the Scottish and Northern Irish school holidays are here, Coastguards in Scotland and Northern Ireland are encouraging children and families to stay safe whilst at the beach and along the coast.
Phil MacIver, HM Coastguard Sector Manager at Buchan said:
“We would like to warn people against jumping into the water from cliffs and structures such as piers and bridges. Every year, nationally we deal with several serious injuries and some deaths as a result of this kind of activity. Tides make a massive difference and what may have been a deep lagoon could be just a shallow puddle only a couple of hours later. At this time of the year the water is still cold so be careful when entering the water, do it slowly, and acclimatise gradually”. Coastguards have also noticed an increase in the number of dogs that have fallen down cliffs. We’d like to warn people against attempting to rescue their dogs and encourage them to call the coastguard and ask for assistance.
We want everyone who visits our coast to have a great time and to go home with happy memories. If you choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags you’ll ensure that you have expert lifesavers looking out for you while you’re in the water. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has launched a new beach finder mobile app to make it easy for anyone heading to the seaside this summer to find their nearest lifeguarded beach, helping them to have fun whilst enjoying a safe visit. The app is available to download free-of-charge on both Android and Apple devices from www.rnli.org/beach
If you’re looking after children make sure that they are well supervised by adults whilst at the coast. We deal with numerous cases of lost children every year and it can be very distressing for children and adults alike.
If you notice that someone is in difficulty, either alert the lifeguard if one is available or call the coastguard on 999. Finally, have a great time and return home safely.
If you want to prepare for your day out on the coast, you might like to visit the kids activity zone at: http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/kids/

UK Water related fatalities 2010 WAID report: Reveals 420 deaths from accidents & Natural causes

There were 420 water-related deaths from accidents or natural causes across the UK in 2010.

The report, which uses the WAter Incident Database (WAID), reveals that, as in previous years, the highest number of fatalities – 217 (52 per cent) – happened in inland waters such as rivers, canals, lakes, lochs, reservoirs and ponds.

Nearly a quarter of fatalities – 94 (22 per cent) – happened at the coast or in a harbour, dock, marina or port, while an additional 73 deaths (17 per cent) happened out at sea. Twenty-four fatalities were the result of incidents in baths (including jacuzzis or hot-tubs), six in swimming pools and six in areas that are not usually watercourses, such as flooded areas. Although fatalities were spread across every day of the week and every month of the year, Saturday was the most common day and April and June the most common months for fatalities to occur.

WAID was developed by the NWSF to enable greater detail and volume in the collection of data on fatal and non-fatal drowning, other water-related deaths and injuries, and near misses. It collects incident data from a wide range of sources including the emergency services, sports governing bodies, coastguard, rescue services, coroners’ courts, and press reports. WAID was developed by NWSF members, including: national partners – British Waterways, British Sub Aqua Club, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Royal National Lifeboat Institution, RoSPA and Royal Life Saving Society; sports governing bodies; and regional and local organisations, including Cornwall Council. It has been developed in partnership with the Department for Transport.

The purpose of the database is to provide a comprehensive and reliable evidence-base for risks to the public from water-related activities which can be used to inform decisions on risk acceptability, prevention and the appropriateness of risk controls and regulation. The 2010 figures and the development of WAID will be discussed at the National Water Safety Seminar in Birmingham on April 26.

The UK Water related fatalities 2010 WAID report (PDF 784kb) is available here.

Review of safety guidance for towed inflatable’s

The National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) and British Water Ski and Wakeboard (BWSW) are working together to review and further develop safety guidance for operators of organised towed inflatable activities.

The joint project has been launched in response to a recommendation made by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) following its investigation into a fatal accident at Princes Club Water Sports Park in Bedfont, Middlesex. An 11-year-old girl was killed in the accident on September 11, 2010, when she fell from a banana boat ride. MAIB published its report into the accident in July.

BWSW is the national governing body for the sports of water skiing and wakeboarding. It has 150 affiliates to which it gives advice and information. It also trains and maintains standards among its clubs.

BWSW has long-established guidelines about towed inflatables, which were drawn up in response to requests and concerns raised by its clubs and operators several years ago, rather than as a result of a catastrophic incident. BWSW makes this information freely and readily available through its literature and training materials, which are provided to all BWSW registered clubs, and examples were cited in the MAIB report.

BWSW will formally review its guidelines and has welcomed the opportunity for a second opinion to be provided by the NWSF.

During the course of the joint review of safety guidance, the two organisations will research the available information on incidents involving towed craft and participation levels, and make recommendations on the appropriate extent of regulation and enforcement.

Michael Vlasto OBE, the NWSF’s chairman, said: “We welcome the opportunity to work with BWSW in responding to the recommendations made following the MAIB investigation into last year’s tragic accident. Revision of the guidance will take place initially over the coming winter months, and we plan to have the results available by the end of March in order to meet the start of the 2012 season. The safety guidance will be subject to continual and continuous review to take account of changing circumstances.”

Read the report on the MAIB website…

As bank holiday weekend approaches check tide time and stay safe at the seaside

With the school holidays well underway and the busy bank holiday weekend around the corner, coastguards and the Shipping Minister are coming together to remind families, children and visitors of the importance of checking weather and tide times to stay safe whilst at the beach and along the coast.

Already this summer coastguards have dealt with many beach-related incidents, with a particularly high number of people being caught out by the tide and needing to be rescued after becoming stranded. Since 1st July, almost 150 such rescues have been carried out around the UK coast, with around 80% involving children. Read more on the MCA webiste…

 

New Water Incident Database reveals 405 deaths across UK

More than 400 people died from accidents or natural causes in water across the UK in 2009, according to the first report from a new incident database.

WAID (the WAter Incident Database) was developed by the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) to enable greater detail and volume in the collection of data on fatal and non-fatal drowning, other water-related deaths and injuries, and near misses.

Of the 405 fatalities in 2009, more than half (213) came as a result of incidents in inland waters, which include rivers, lakes, lochs, reservoirs, canals and ponds. Nearly a quarter (99) happened at the coast or in a harbour, dock, marina, or port, while one in seven deaths (57) happened further out at sea. There were 19 deaths as a result of incidents in baths, five in swimming pools and one involving a water container. Eleven people died in places that are not usually watercourses, for example flooded areas.

Under – 19’s accounted for 59 of the fatalities, of whom 14 died as a result of incidents in rivers (predominantly teenagers), seven in baths (mostly 0-2 year olds) and six in ponds.

Deaths happened during a wide variety of water-based activities. Forty-eight of those who died were swimming at the time of the incident, 27 were angling and 20 were sub aqua diving. The most commonly-reported activity, however, which accounted for 78 fatalities, was someone entering the water while walking or running, for example to cool off or by falling. A further 17 fatalities happened after motor vehicles entered water.

Saturday was the most common day and August the most common month for fatalities to occur.

David Walker, a member of the NWSF and operations manager at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), said: “As the figures for 2009 sadly reveal, drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in the UK. WAID will greatly enhance our understanding of water-related incidents that claim lives and cause injuries across the UK each year. Managing water risks is all about a balance between giving people freedom to make informed choices about how to enjoy water and the impact those choices have on society in general. By providing better information, WAID will assist in striking that balance and enable us to develop more effective prevention work. Working together to collect and share data means WAID members and communities will be able to better manage risks than if they worked alone.”

WAID was developed by NWSF members, including: national partners – British Waterways, British Sub Aqua Club, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Royal National Lifeboat Institution, RoSPA and Royal Life Saving Society; sports governing bodies; and regional and local organisations, including Cornwall Council. It has been developed in partnership with the Department for Transport.

The full report is available to download in PDF format. More information about the WAID system can be found here.