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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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

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

New Report Assesses Inland Accidental Drowning Risk

The new report from RoSPA based on WAID data has identified a number of clear risk factors, enabling a more coordinated, effective and targeted approach to drowning prevention strategies.

The report ‘Assessing Inland Accidental Drowning Risk’ was funded by the RoSPA/ BNFL Scholarship scheme, and is the first report to conduct an in-depth analysis of the WAID dataset. A finding of note include a disproportionate (50% higher) rate of drowning among Welsh and Scottish males, when compared to English counterparts.

Other findings of note were:

More water + more people = more incidents. The rate of accidental inland drowning varies greatly between areas depending on the amount of water and the number of people in that area.

Leisure Safety_Summer 2013_inland risks report pic 2

The predominant hazard is “open water”, such as rivers, lakes and canals, in which 81 per cent of the deaths that were analysed, occurred. There is a stark difference with indoor swimming pools; in which just 2.7 per cent of deaths occurred.

Higher risk for Scottish and Welsh men: The rate of drowning is far higher in Scotland & Wales. The rate of death for males is over double that of females, for all three countries. Males in general have higher rates of drowning than females, particularly teenagers and young men.

Activity based risk: Whilst the risk of death is not assessed to be intolerable for any individual sport, the rate of death does vary greatly between sports. However the majority of deaths (68 per cent) involved “day-to-day” activities such as walking by water.

The project was developed in conjunction with a Forum working group including inland, and the watersports members. This report is the first in series of risk analysis developed by Forum members, and these along with the developement of a national drowning prevention strategy will be presented at the UK water safety conference in October.

More information on the WAID system can be found here.

The ‘Assessing Inland Accidental Drowning Risk Short Report ‘ can be viewed here.

Consultation: Draft Open Water Swimming advice from the National Water Safety Forum

Consultation: Draft Open Water Swimming advice from the National Water Safety Forum

Analysis based on the NWSF Water Incident Database (WAID) accident data from 2009-11; shows an average of 19 fatalities per year at inland-open-water sites (lakes, rivers, pools, quarries, canals) occurred in circumstances that could be attributed to open water swimming. The risks of in-water death is approximately 1:200,000 participants per year; similar to that of a pedestrian being struck by a motor vehicle[i].

This document has been developed by members of the watersports and inland advisory groups. It is intended to cover key points for members of the public, who wish to swim in open water.

The base information (10 points) will be used as a framework by members in response to queries. The final version will sit on the NWSF website, with links to further information and advice from members and stakeholders.
There are a number of specific elements we would like your view on:
– Have we missed any critical safety points?
– Is the length and tone correct?
– Have we used too much by way of technical language?
– Is it easy to read?
– What extra background or wider information should we cite and direct people to?
Please include if your response is on behalf of a group or organisation, or as an individual.

We would like your views on the above and other points you wish to raise, by Friday 26th July. You can respond to: info@nationalwatersafety.org.uk

Draft for comment, July 13
Open water swimming advice
Introduction

Variously termed ‘wild’ and open water swimming, this activity is not new but is enjoying something of a revival in the UK. Open water can be used to describe, rivers, lakes, pools and the sea. Any recreational use of water should be encouraged but equally it is important to enjoy the activity safely.

Analysis based on NWSF-WAID accident data (2009-11) shows an average of 19 fatalities per year at inland-open-water sites (lakes, rivers ect) occurred in circumstances that could be attributed to open water swimming. The risks of in-water death is approximately 1:200,000 participants per year, similar to that of a pedestrian being struck by a motor vehicle[i].

These guidelines are intended to provide simple common sense points to help you enjoy safer swimming in open water. However, it should be recognised that there are significant differences between a swimming pool and open water swimming and swimmers are recommended to seek an introduction with an experienced leader to develop awareness, competency and confidence in open water.

Our top A-B-C tips for safe open water swimming:

Activity
1. If you want to drink alcohol do it after swimming not before
2. Go with a group – you’ll have help on hand
3. Swim in known locations and before entering the water make sure there is a safe exit point
• Check out local knowledge and advice (speak to clubs)
• Look out for and follow any safety signage
• Avoid weirs, locks and other structures
• Swim parallel to the shore not into deep water and within your personal limits
• Avoid swimming in polluted waters (e.g. sewage, blue/green algae, farm runoff).
Buoyancy
1. Cold water can sap body heat very quickly so wear suitable thermal protection (a wetsuit will also provide some additional buoyancy)
2. Only swim if you are confident in your ability in the water and wear additional buoyancy if you are not a strong swimmer. Other clothing to consider
• Footwear for protection and grip when entering and exiting the water
• Googles, to protect eyes but also allow you to see underwater for obstructions etc.
• Headwear, especially a high visibility swim cap in areas with lots of surface traffic.
Conditions
1. When entering the water be aware of the effects of cold shock and ensure you acclimatise before swimming in deeper water
2. Limit exposure (20 mins or start to shiver) and take account of surface conditions
3. Keep warm before swimming and have the means to warm up immediately after a swim
4. Know how to cope with cramp (stay shallow so you can stand up or use extra buoyancy)
5. Make sure you have the means of alerting the emergency services

________________________________________
[i] http://www.rospa.com/leisuresafety/Info/Watersafety/inland-waters-risk-assessment.pdf

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.

Image

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:

Image

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).