With a number of high profile drownings in recent weeks, the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) is urging people to ‘Be Water Aware’ and take extra care over the forthcoming Bank Holiday weekend.
In recent days, we have had reports of twelve people drowning in just five days around the UK’s shoreline alone. With people expected to take advantage of the long weekend, it is anticipated many will flock to the coastline to enjoy our beaches.
However, if it is not just the sea which poses a problem, people visiting beauty spots, reservoirs and canals, where there is open water are also being urged to take care.
People also need to be careful when around water, even if they have no intention of entering it.
Recent figures show a high number of people drowned who had no intention of entering the water. In 2014-15, there were 138 fatalities involving people who were just running or walking near water. This is put into perspective when you take into account there are approximately 320 accidental drownings annually.
Following the tragic incident at Camber Sands which saw five people lose their lives, lifeguards will be patrolling at Camber Beach over the bank holiday.
We strongly recommend:
- Avoid the temptation is to find that hidden gem of a beach and get away from everyone else – a secluded beach is often not the safest option
- Where possible, use a lifeguarded beach during patrolled hours. However, it is important to remember that it is up to you to correctly supervise children not the lifeguard
- Dress your children in something nice and bright/ distinctive – it is easier to keep an eye on them
Please don’t forget these water safety messages when you are away from home – whether on holiday or away over the Bank Holiday weekend.
It is also worth spending some time taking a look at their Respect The Water campaign which runs through the summer and highlights the issue of coastal drownings and the work RNLI do to reduce the number of deaths.