Public urged to #BeWaterAware following over 600 drownings in 12 months

Public urged to #BeWaterAware following over 600 drownings in 12 months

As the current Covid-19 restrictions ease it is anticipated many will head to coastal locations and inland water beauty spots. In recent years more people died in the UK from accidental drowning than cyclists did on our roads. Almost six in ten (58%) of people who died as a result of an accident in the water did not intend to enter the water at all. 

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service are backing The National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) Be Water Aware campaign between the 26th April – 2nd May to educate and warn of the dangers when spending time in and around water. The Service is an active partner of Water Safety Wales, a taskforce of key agencies with an interest in water safety and drowning prevention are aiming to educate and reduce water related rescues.

Last year, a total of 634 people died in drownings in the UK, a significant increase upon the previous year. With leisure centres and swimming pools remaining closed, open water such as, the sea, reservoirs, lakes, rivers, ponds and quarry lakes may seem a tempting alternative for a quick dip or water activities, particularly if they are located close to urban areas. Although the water may seem alluring on a hot day, they will often conceal a range of hazards.

Please follow some simple tips to stay safe around water;

  • Never swim alone in case you need help
  • Don’t drink alcohol when undertaking water related activities, it impairs judgement and your ability to swim
  • Avoid walking routes near water if you have been drinking alcohol
  • Don’t dive or jumping straight into open water, this can cause potentially fatal cold water shock even on the warmest day
  • Actively supervise children in and around water – drowning can happen fast and silently
  • If you find yourself unexpectedly in the water, don’t panic, extend your arms and legs out and float on your back until the effect of cold water shock pass
  • Never enter the water to try and rescue someone, call 999 and ask for the Fire Service if inland and the Coastguard if you are at the coast

More safety information is available HERE.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service Area Manager and Chair of the NFCC Water Safety Practitioners group Garry Davies said: “If you are planning a staycation, whether that be a trip to the beach or enjoying Wales’ inland beauty spots near water, please remember to stay safe and not take any unnecessary risks. We want our communities to enjoy our countryside’s and coastal areas but through education ensure they are aware of the dangers of water. Anyone near water should be aware of their surroundings, be aware of tidal changes, adhere to safety signs and follow government guidance.”

Look out for #BeWaterAware and #RespectTheWater on social media for more information and safety advice.