Accidental Drowning in Wales Continues to Fall
The number of accidental drowning deaths in Wales is continuing to fall, new data from the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) show.
Latest figures from the Water Incident Database (WAID), which is maintained by the NWSF, reveal that there were 20 deaths in water in Wales from accidents or natural causes in 2019, a decrease of two from the previous year.
It is the fourth year in a row the number of accidental drowning deaths in Wales has fallen. There has been a 26 per cent decrease since 2016, when the NWSF launched its UK Drowning Prevention Strategy aiming to reduce the number of accidental drowning deaths across the UK by 50 per cent.
Accidental drownings across the UK also fell in 2019 to 223, a reduction of 40 on the 2018 figure of 263.
Water Safety Wales, which brings together organisations with an interest in water safety to work together to reduce drowning, is a member of the NWSF. Chair Dave Ansell said: “We are pleased to see the number of accidental drowning deaths fall for another year. This is in part no doubt to the tremendous work of all of our partners working to raise awareness of water safety in Wales.
“But one drowning is one too many and we always urge the public to look after their own safety, knowing that tragically, by the time the emergency services respond to an incident, the fatality may have already occurred.”
Almost half (9) of all accidental drowning deaths happened at the coast/shore/beach, so families are being warned to take particular care if they are planning to head to the beach during the summer months.
Dave Ansell added: “This is no time for complacency, so as lockdown restrictions ease, we are reminding people to take extra responsibility for their own safety in, on or near the water and to think twice about entering the water as cold water and other hazards still present a significant risk.”
Despite the warm weather, the water will still be cold enough to cause cold water shock, which can incapacitate even the most capable swimmers who are not accustomed and acclimatised to open water conditions. Safety should always be the main consideration.
If you do get into difficulty in the water, remember to fight your instincts and float first. If you see someone in trouble in the water, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard, or the fire service if you are inland.
Drowning Prevention Week, a campaign from the Royal Life Saving Society UK, runs from June 12-19, and this year focuses on giving individuals and families the skills and knowledge they need to enjoy the water, safely. More information can be found at
WAID compiles statistics from across the UK from a number of sources including inquests, and breaks these down into deaths by activity, age, location type and geography, to give those working in drowning prevention and water safety a clearer idea of where to target interventions.