Be water aware
Drowning is amongst the leading causes of accidental death in the UK. We want to make people safer by making them aware of the risks and dangers when around water, what to do if they fall into water and how to help someone who is in trouble in water
223 people accidentally drowned in the UK in 2019
44% of these people just happened to be near water and had no intention of entering the water
82% of these fatalities were male
Dangers - open water
What to do if someone falls into deep water
If you spot someone in trouble in the water:
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
Key safety tips for staying safe near water
Alcohol and swimming do not mix - stay out of the water if you have been drinking.
Never let older children swim in unsupervised areas like quarries, canals or ponds.
Never interfere with lifesaving equipment - you might need it yourself.
Swimming anywhere other than at purpose built and supervised swimming pools is highly dangerous and is not recommended, unless as part of an organised club.
Join a club for open water swimming
For anyone wishing to pursue open water swimming there are a number of clubs that offer supervised sessions.
To find out more or to locate a club near to you visit:
Last updated: Thursday 22 July 2021