Figures reveal 321 people died in accidental drownings in 2015

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

 

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The RNLI ‘Respect the Water’ campaign

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Despite the best efforts of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s volunteer crews and lifeguards –  Did you know that around 150 people still lose their lives around the UK coast each year, and around 80% are men?

….And are you aware that cold water shock occurs in water less than 15 degrees, but the average UK sea temperature is just 12?

Pictured L-R Back - Virginia Billcliff (RNLI Volunteer), Denise Cobb (Brighton and Hove Mayor), James Haskell (Wasps and England Rugby Player) and Dan Gurr (RNLI Volunteer).

Denise Cobb (Brighton and Hove Mayor), James Haskell (Wasps and England Rugby Player) and RNLI volunteers Supporting Respect the Water campaign. Picture by Brighton Togs http://www.brightontogs.com

You may also be surprised to know that just one metre cubed of water weighs a tonne, and that is not a lot of water. Although as water safety professionals some of this may seem obvious, our research shows that many of those most at risk underestimate such facts, and therefore put themselves in situations of increased and unnecessary risk.

These findings underpinned a new RNLI coastal safety campaign called ‘Respect the Water’ last summer to help raise awareness about dangers of drowning and general risks around the coast. The campaign was piloted in the South-East of England during August and was launched in Brighton by England rugby star James Haskell who kindly gave his time for free to support the RNLI.

The campaign consisted of traditional outdoor posters and PR activity, but also a combination of radio adverts, digital banners and specially designed pint glasses and beer mats to warn about the dangers of drinking and swimming. An experiential road show visited three key locations and included a custom built ‘tonne of water’ and water filled punch bag to engage with adult men, those who are most at risk of drowning.  The campaign used facts, real stories and local content to it interesting and relevant, challenging that alpha male bravado which is often associated with keeping safe around water. Even though you are tough and strong, could you push yourself against a tonne of water, or how long could you fight against the water, the opponent that will never tire?

Pictured L-R: Denise Cobb (Brighton and Hove Mayor) and James Haskell (Wasps and England Rugby Player). They were today supporting Respect the Water.

Pictured L-R: Denise Cobb (Brighton and Hove Mayor) and James Haskell (Wasps and England Rugby Player). They were today supporting Respect the Water. Picture by Brighton Togs www.brightontogs.com

We are proud to announce the pilot won three prestigious DMA awards (Direct Marketing Association) in December, with gold for best use of experiential, two bronze for best media strategy and best use of copy, and a nomination for best creative solution. The campaign was completing against international brands such as Virgin Holidays, 02, Honda, Unicef, Unilever, EE and IBM to name a few, so we are delighted with such recognition so early on in the development of the campaign.

The plan for 2014 is to increase coverage to a national scale around the coastline of the UK, with focused activity in up to ten locations identified by the RNLI as areas of significant risk and a high number of incidents.

Written by: Ross MacLeod, Coastal Safety Manager (Marketing), the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

NWSF News & Updates October ’13

The 2012 UK Water related fatalities; Water Incident Database Report has been released!

This report is the first release of WAID fatality information for 2012, and has been compiled by members of the National Water Safety Forum.
We gratefully acknowledge those organisations that have contributed data and special thanks are also extended to the contributing police, fire and rescue services. For further information on the WAID service please see: http://www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/waid
Previous WAID UK Annual Fatal Incident reports, dating back to 2009 are available on the Forum’s website: http://www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/waid/reports.asp

MAIB Safety Bulletin 3/2013 – Wacker Quacker 1 / Cleopatra published

Summary: The MAIB has issued Safety Bulletin 3/2013 following the sinking of the DUKW amphibious vehicle Wacker Quacker 1 in Salthouse Dock, Liverpool on 15 June 2013 and the fire on board the DUKW amphibious vehicle Cleopatra on the River Thames, London on 29 September 2013. Issued 28 October 2013. Safety Bulletin 3_2013.pdf (4.38 kb) http://www.maib.gov.uk/cms_resources.cfm?file=/Safety%20Bulletin%203_2013.pdf

Arklow Meadow Accident Investigation Report 21/2013 published

Summary: MAIB Report on the investigation into a release of phosphine gas during cargo discharge on board Arklow Meadow, Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland on 5 December 2012. Report No 21/2013. Published 3 October 2013. View or download the full report: http://www.maib.gov.uk/publications/investigation_reports/2013/arklow_meadow.cfm

mv Amber Accident Investigation Report 22/2013 published

Summary: The MAIB report on the investigation of the contact and grounding of the bulk carrier mv Amber at Gravesend Reach, River Thames on 15 November 2012, was published on 24 October 2013. Report No 22/2013. View or download the full report: http://www.maib.gov.uk/cms_resources.cfm?file=/mvAmber.pdf

Busiest summer in years – Says the RNLI

The RNLI have released provisional figures from over the summer period, showing sharp rises in the number of lifeboat launches across the UK. Across the UK and Republic of Ireland, the charity’s lifeboats launched 4,300 times – the most in 24 years – and lifeguards attended 14,814 Incidents.

Wales – Lifeboat launches across Wales between June – August rocketed by 43 per cent compared with summer 2012. Statistics reveal RNLI lifeboats and lifeguards across Wales have been exceptionally busy, with RNLI lifeguards responding to 946 incidents and RNLI lifeboats launching 726 times. Of the 31 lifeboat stations in Wales, 24 reported an increase in emergency calls with some experiencing dramatic rises. http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/RNLI-in-Wales-reports-busiest-summer-in-24-years.aspx

Northern Ireland – The lifeboats in Northern Ireland launching 138 times during the months of June, July and August, an increase of 20 per cent on the previous summer. The charity’s lifeguards were also busy on ten beaches with 259 recorded incidents, an increase from 142 incidents in 2012. http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/RNLI-figures-show-busy-summer-for-Northern-Ireland-lifeboats-and–lifeguards.aspx

Manx Lifeboat – Lifeboat launches across the Isle of Man between June – August rocketed by nearly 50 per cent. Of the five RNLI lifeboat stations on the island, Douglas, Peel and Ramsey have all reported a marked increase in call-outs. The most notable rise has been in services by the island’s all-weather lifeboats which have increased from 13 incidents in 2012 to 26 in 2013. http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/Rise-in-Manx-lifeboat-launches-as-RNLI-reports-busiest-summer-in-24-years.aspx

East of England – 15 stations in the east coast of England launched a total 319 times between June and August 2013. This represents a very small drop of just 4.7 per cent from the 335 launches recorded in 2012. In addition, the charity’s lifeguards, which operate on 15 beaches in the east of England, were kept busy as they responded to 904 incidents during the 2013 summer season. http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/A-busy-summer-2013-for-lifeboat-crews-and-lifeguards-in-the-East-of-England.aspx

London’s lifeboat – Statistics from the charity, which runs lifeboats from three bases along the River Thames, show there were a total of 263 separate lifeboat launches between June and August 2013. This is just a handful more than the 253 launches recorded in the same period in 2012. Once again two of the RNLI’s London lifeboat stations were in the top five busiest of all 236 lifeboat stations around the UK and Republic of Ireland. The busiest was Tower station, which operates from a floating pier below Waterloo Bridge. Meanwhile Chiswick station, situated at Corney Reach Pier in the town, was ranked third busiest overall. http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/Lifesaving-statistics-show-a-busy-summer-2013-for-RNLI-London-lifeboats.aspx

North of England – The charity’s volunteer lifeboat crews carried out 598 rescue launches in June, July and August – a 28.9% increase on the previous year. Only the summers of 2003 (632 launches) and 2009 (634 launches) were busier. RNLI lifeguards also experienced a busy season in the north, dealing with 1,408 incidents compared to 1,143 last summer – a 23.2% increase. http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/Busy-summer-for-the-RNLIs-lifesavers-in-the-north-of-England.aspx

South-West RegionRNLI teams across the South West have been kept busy this summer, provisional statistics for the period June, July and August show a 24% increase in incidents for RNLI lifeguards, and lifeboat crews attending 652 rescues. RNLI lifeguards dealt with 10,615 incidents across the south west, including water based rescues, major and minor first aids and missing children.http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/Summer-sunshine-keeps-south-west-RNLI-lifesavers-busy.aspx

Scotland – There were more than five lifeboat launches a day Scotland-wide, during a busy summer for the RNLI’s lifeboats. The total number of launches for June, July and August was 476 across Scotland’s 47 stations, just short of the record-breaking Summer of 2008 when there were 480 launches. There were 440 launches during the 2012 summer.
The busiest station in Scotland was Broughty Ferry with 43 launches for its two boats, compared with 23 the previous year.
http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/Tobermory-RNLI-is-busiest-all-weather-lifeboat-station-in-Scotland-in-Summer-2011.aspx

Ireland – RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews in Ireland were kept busy this summer, with the charity’s lifeboats launching 571 times during the months of June, July and August. The figure represents an increase of 43 per cent on the previous summer.
http://rnli.org/NewsCentre/Pages/RNLI-figures-show-major-increase-in-Irish-lifeboat-launches-during-busy-summer.aspx

News and updates – March ’13

Search and rescue helicopter contract signed

The Department for Transport (DfT) announced this week (wb 25/03) that it has signed a contract with Bristow Helicopters Ltd to provide search and rescue helicopter services in the UK.  In his written statement to the House Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin MP said that the new £1.6 billion contract for search and rescue helicopter services will see the UK benefit from improved flying times and better coverage of high-risk areas.

Helicopters will be able to reach a larger area of the UK search and rescue region within one hour of take-off than is currently possible, and based on historic incident data it is estimated that there will be an overall improvement in flying times to incidents of around 20% (from 23 to 19 minutes).

Presently, approximately 70% of high and very high risk areas within the UK search and rescue region are reachable by helicopter within 30 minutes. Under the new contract, approximately 85% of the same area would be reached within this timeframe.

The full statement from DFT can be found here.

Via RYA news.

Corporate manslaughter charge over death of 11-year-old girl

A watersports club in Middlesex has been charged with corporate manslaughter in relation to an incident in which an 11-year-old girl died after falling from a banana boat ride. Prince’s Sporting Club in Bedfont, Middlesex, has also been charged with an offence under section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Section 3 requires all employers to conduct their business in a way that ensures, so far as is reasonably practicable, that others are not exposed to risk.

Mari-Simon Cronje died during a birthday celebration at the club on September 11, 2010, after falling from the banana boat and being struck by the boat that had been towing it. Elizabeth Joslin, specialist prosecutor in the Special Crime Division of the Crown Prosecution Service said: “I have carefully reviewed all of the evidence gathered by the Metropolitan Police and the Hounslow Environmental Health Department during their investigation into the tragic death of Mari-Simon Cronje. “I have concluded that there is sufficient evidence to charge the Prince’s Sporting Club Ltd with both corporate manslaughter and an offence under section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.”

A director of the Prince’s Sporting Club Ltd has been charged under section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. An initial hearing took place at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on February 19. The case has been referred to Southwark Crown Court for a plea and case management hearing on April 26. Via RoSPA journals

Merlin Attractions loses appeal following fall death conviction

Merlin Attractions Operations — a subsidiary of Madame Tussaud’s — was convicted of two healthy and safety offences in April this year following a seven-day trial, and was fined £350,000 plus £145,000 in costs.

The case followed the death of George Townley in December 2007, who suffered fatal head injuries after falling 14 feet from the castle’s Bear and Clarence Bridge.

Via HSW.

2011 WAID water related fatalities report released

Drowning and immersion deaths from accidents or natural causes across the UK in 2011 remained static with over 400 deaths.

The report from the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) identified 407 water-related fatalities throughout 2011 with the majority – 219 (54 per cent) – taking place in inland waters including rivers, canals, lakes, streams, lochs, ponds and reservoirs. Data from the NWSF’s Water Incident Database (WAID) also shows that just over a quarter of deaths – 105 (26%) – happened at the coast or harbour, such as at beaches, marinas or docks.

You can read the blog, and access the report in full here.

 

2011 Water Related Fatality report published

Drowning and immersion deaths from accidents or natural causes across the UK in 2011 remained static with over 400 deaths.

The report from the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) identified 407 water-related fatalities throughout 2011 with the majority – 219 (54 per cent) – taking place in inland waters including rivers, canals, lakes, streams, lochs, ponds and reservoirs.

Data from the NWSF’s Water Incident Database (WAID) also shows that just over a quarter of deaths – 105 (26%) – happened at the coast or harbour, such as at beaches, marinas or docks.

A further 41 fatalities (10%) occurred out at sea. The UK Water Related Fatalities 2011 report adds that the number of drownings in a bath (including jacuzzis or hot-tubs) stood at 14, the same number of people who died in a swimming pool.

The majority of deaths were reported in England (429), followed by Scotland (108), Wales (68) and Northern Ireland (14). The south and west of England reported the most frequent number of deaths with a combined 207.

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Activities taking place at the time of each death have been logged, with the most common being someone walking or running before entering the water, including falling or jumping in, which occurred in 87 cases. While 39 people died while swimming, 35 were playing or doing an activity next to the water, and 20 were in a manually-powered boat.

There were also 16 deaths involving a motor-boat, a further 15 with a motor vehicle and four drownings due to flooding.

Water-related deaths for children and young people up to the age of 19 reached 47 (12%) in 2011. Nearly half of these – 22 deaths – were in the 15 to 19 age group, predominantly in a river or lake. Around a quarter – 12 deaths – involved babies and toddlers aged four and under. Boys were the victim in 10 of the tragedies, which were mainly in a pool, pond or bath:

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Summer months from June to August saw a peak in deaths, and despite tragedy striking on every day of the week, deaths were more common on Saturdays and Sundays.

WAID collects data from a wide range of sources including the emergency services, sports governing bodies, coastguards, rescue services, coroners courts and media reports. The full report can be downloaded from the NWSF website: 2011 WAID report (PDF).

Divers vital contribution to the definitive Incident Report

With the UK diving season now well underway, BSAC would like to remind anyone involved in or witnessing a diving incident this year to report it. Every year BSAC produces an Incident Report, which plays a key role in helping to understand trends in diving safety. By reporting an incident to BSAC, you can help contribute to the wide-spread practice of safe diving. As the UK Governing Body, BSAC has monitored and reported on diving incidents since 1964. Providing the most comprehensive database of incidents and trends, the BSAC Incident Report has influenced the development of safe diving and training practices across all agencies. The annual report contains details of UK diving incidents occurring to divers of all affiliations, plus incidents occurring world-wide involving BSAC members. Many groups, including the MCA, RNLI and other diving organisations feed into our system but the vast majority of reports come from individuals. The findings are presented by BSAC’s Safety Adviser Brian Cumming at the BSAC Diving Conference every autumn.

Brian said he applauded the courage and generosity of divers who contributed to the report so that lessons can be learnt and hoped others would follow suit: “Divers are central to this report, and their experiences are invaluable. Whilst some people may be reluctant to report an incident or ‘near miss’, BSAC would like to reassure contributors that any details supplied will be used anonymously.”

BSAC Incident reports can be submitted online at www.bsac.com/incidentreport

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…

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…

Water safety industry will not let standards slip, despite tough times.

Today’s National Water Safety Seminar, hosted by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, will hear that the water safety industry is committed to maintaining and improving standards, despite the continuation of tough operating conditions.
The Birmingham event, supported by the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF), is bringing together more than 100 professionals whose work encompasses all aspects of water safety – beach, inland water (e.g. rivers and lakes), sea, swimming pool and water sports safety.
It comes just weeks after new figures from the NWSF revealed there were 420 water-related deaths from accidents or natural causes in the UK in 2010.

David Walker, RoSPA’s leisure safety manager, said: “The UK has a great track-record of different partners coming together to work on water safety, and it’s this joint approach that is proving crucial in the midst of tough financial conditions. Organisations from the private, public and third sectors with responsibility for water safety have all experienced budget tightening in recent years. Despite this, the strong message from the sector as a whole is that we will not accept deterioration in the standards and innovation for which the UK is well respected across the world. The fact that more than 400 lives were lost from accidents or natural causes in water in 2010 provides the impetus for staying focused on prevention. Industry partners also remain committed to being balanced and proportionate in their approach to water safety and to using robust evidence to better understand risks and how to manage them. We have also learned from regulators like the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Health and Safety Executive about how they are making the most of their resources for the future”. Today’s national seminar, which includes the presentation of world-leading research, the launch of new industry-generated safety guidance and an update about the UK’s innovative Water Incident Database, will demonstrate the breadth of water safety activities and the determination that exists to see fewer deaths and serious injuries in preventable water-related accidents”. Read the full press release on the RoSPA website…

Drowning Prevention: In the spotlight at National Safety Seminar this week

The National Water Safety Seminar, hosted by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, takes place on Thursday, bringing together more than 100 professionals with responsibility for water safety across the UK. The seminar, which comes just weeks after new figures revealed there were 420 water-related deaths from accidents or natural causes in the UK in 2010, will focus on how accident prevention standards can be taken forward despite difficult financial operating conditions. All parts of the water safety industry will be represented, including beach, inland water (e.g. rivers and lakes), sea, swimming pool and water sports safety. The seminar, taking place at ETC Venues – Maple House, Birmingham, is supported by the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF).
Key presentations will be given by:
– Tony Stammers, head of health and safety at British Waterways: how practitioners can balance the cost of protection without sacrificing high standards
– David Walker, leisure safety manager at RoSPA, and Mike Barrett, of the NWSF: how the pioneering Water Incident Database (WAID) has developed since 2009
– Richard Wilson, head of the office of the chief executive at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency: the recently published Blueprint for Future Coastguard Organisation in the UK and its implications for coastal safety ·
– Mike Vlasto OBE, chairman of the NWSF: the future of water safety and the challenges that may lie ahead over the next 18 months
– NWSF members – sea, beach, inland, swimming pool and water sports updates.
Read the full press release on the RoSPA website…