Drowning prevention - be water aware

Water rescue training on a river

Around 315 people accidentally drown in the UK each year.  And statistics show that 50% of people who drown had no intention of entering the water.

What to do if someone falls into deep water

If you spot someone in trouble in the water:

  • Call 999 to inform Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.  If you don't have a phone shout for help - but do not enter the water.

  • Encourage the person in the water to try and float on their back - and if there is rescue equipment nearby throw it to them.

Never ever enter the water to try and save someone. This usually ends up adding to the problem.  If you go into the water you are likely to suffer from cold water shock which will leave you unable to help even if you are a strong swimmer.

What to do if YOU fall into deep water - FLOAT

  • If you fall into deep water, you should lie on your back and FLOAT

  • Fight the instinct to panic or swim - it's better to just FLOAT.

  • Lie back and keep your airways clear, push your stomach up and extend your limbs moving hands and feet to help you FLOAT.

  • Try to take and control the effects of cold water shock such as the gasping reflex. Once your breathing is controlled call for help and if possible try making your way towards safety

Be water aware

We are asking people to BE WATER AWARE - don't assume that you're not at risk of drowning because you don't intend to go into the water.

  • 315 people accidently drowned in 2016.

  • 50% of people that accidently drowned in 2016 were taking part in everyday activities near water - they had no intention of entering the water.

  • In 2016, 25% of people who accidently drowned were running or walking near water- making runners and walkers the highest group at risk of drowning in the UK.

  • 64 People aged 15 - 29 drowned in 2016 with 30% (20) of these drowning victims having alcohol in their system.

Safety advice for students and young adult drinkers

  • Don't let a night out end in tragedy - take a safe route home away from water.

  • Avoid walking near water even if the path is lit - in the dark you may not see trip hazards of even the waters edge.

  • Stay with your group and don't wander off if you become separated.

  • Keep an eye on any friends who are worse for wear and make sure you help them home.
  • Make sure you store a taxi number in your phone and some emergency money at home so you can pay. If the money is at home you can't lose it or accidently spend it.

Safety advice for runners and walkers

  • Stick to proper pathways.

  • Avoid walking or running near water in the dark.

  • Don't walk or run next to water if levels are high.

  • Look out for trip or slip hazards - pay attention to your footing.

  • When running or walking next to water, stay clear of the edges.

Safety advice when fishing

  • Wear a lifejacket.

  • Take a fully charged mobile phone.

  • Make sure you let someone know where you are going to fish and what time you are likely to return.

  • Double check your fishing spot. Is it safe? For example, riverbanks can erode and just because it was safe one day doesn’t mean it still is.

  • Coastal and sea fishing is particularly high risk - make sure you know your spot is safe and you won’t get cut off by the tide.

Safety advice for dog walkers

  • Don't lean into water and try and lift your dog out - you can topple in.

  • Never enter the water to try and save a dog - the dog usually manages to scramble out.

  • If your dog loves the water keep it on a lead to prevent it jumping into hazardous or unsafe areas.

  • Remember wet riverbanks, steep edges or jagged rocks can make it hard for a dog to scramble out and they are a slip risk for owners.

  • Even dogs that like swimming can usually only swim for short bursts - keep and eye of your dog and don't let it enter the water if it's older or tired.

  • If your dog has struggled in the water it may have inhaled water and should see a vet. Dogs can drown after the event if water has entered the lungs.

Drowning prevention - more safety advice and tips

Dangers of swimming in open water - safety tips

Cold water shock

Water safety advice from The Royal Life-Saving Society UK (opens in new window)

Last updated: Wednesday 24 October 2018