Water Safety Wales urges the public to Respect the Water this World Drowning Prevention Day

Water Safety Wales urges the public to Respect the Water this World Drowning Prevention Day

World Drowning Prevention Day is held annually on 25 July to highlight the impact of drownings on families and communities and to share lifesaving advice and guidance.

Each year, there is a key theme to bring focus and attention to an important aspect of drowning prevention. This year’s theme is “do one thing to prevent drowning”.

The idea is that anyone can take one firm action, big or small, to push forward drowning prevention. This could range from sharing water safety advice, taking swimming lessons or supporting local drowning prevention groups, charities and initiatives.

Last year, there were 49 water related deaths in Wales, 26 of those were accidental. Anyone can drown, no one should.

Water Safety Wales Chair, Chris Cousens, said:

“With warmer weather hitting many parts of the UK this summer, we’d like to remind the public that although open water swimming may seem like a fun way to keep cool, it can still be very dangerous. Bodies of water such as the sea, reservoirs, lakes, rivers, ponds and quarry lakes often conceal a range of hazards of which people will be unaware.

Even though the weather is warm, the water is still much colder than many people would expect. Cold water also significantly impairs the ability to swim, causing even the strongest swimmers to struggle and become disorientated.

We want people to enjoy the warm weather, but we also want to stay safe and provide information, so they know what to do in the event of an emergency.”

The campaign sees over 50 UK organisations uniting for the first time to raise public awareness of what to do if you see someone struggling in the water during the summer.

  • Call 999 Fire & rescue for inland waters or coastguard at the coast.
  • Tell the person to float on their back
  • Throw them something that floats

Water Safety Lead for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Bleddyn Jones, said:

“Unfortunately, there have recently been a number of tragedies involving water sports like stand up paddle boarding.

We want you to be safe this summer and urge you to follow key advice when taking part in activities this summer.

Paddle in a group, let people know where you are and take a mobile phone.  Always wear a quick release leash and an appropriate flotation device – these steps could prevent tragedy.

We’re also urging parents to remind their children not to enter water if they cannot swim.  Respect the water and stay safe.”

Water Safety Wales will continue working to reduce drowning across the country, and by following the aims set out in Wales’ Drowning Prevention Strategy 2020-2026, we can all help people visiting and living in Wales be safer.

More information about World Drowning Prevention Day is available here: https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-drowning-prevention-day/2022

If you want to help or support the initiative, look out for #DrowningPrevention and #RespectTheWater on social media!