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.’

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.