Drowning Prevention Week

19th June 2021 - 26th June 2021
In the UK accidental drowning takes an average of 402 lives each year. Find out more here.

Drowning Prevention Week (19th-26th June)

Drowning Prevention Week mission is to help everybody across the UK enjoy water, safely. The DPW campaign has been created by the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) to give the skills and knowledge to make the right decision about water safety. Drowning is preventable and it is the lack of confidence and competence in water that affects survival rates.

I can swim so why are you talking to me about drowning?

In more than 46% of drowning incidents the person never intended to enter the water and people aged between 16 to 30 account for 23% of drowning fatalities (shockingly over 80 % of those who drown are male.)

People drown because they have little or no awareness of the dangers of water, misjudge their own swimming ability or unintentionally fall in. Like swimming, water safety knowledge and the skills to survive and self-rescue don’t come instinctively; they have to be taught.

The water safety code is a short, easy to remember guide to acting safely and responsibly around water.

  • Always swim in a safe place
  • If you fall in: float, breathe, relax
  • If someone else is in trouble call 999 or 112

Drowning doesn’t just happen in the sea, in fact 62.4% of accidental drownings happen in inland water: canals, rivers, lakes and reservoirs.

Stop and think: The water is colder than you think, edges can be dangerous and there may be dangers lurking under the water.

Stay together: Never swim alone, find a safe place to go in and plan your activity (check weather, tides and wear the right clothing)

Cold water shock

Just because it’s hot and sunny doesn’t mean the water will be too. The heat of the sun cannot reach the depth of water outdoors, so it will be very cold underneath the water’s surface. Have you ever fumbled to tie your shoelace in cold weather or struggled to put your key in the door when your hands are really cold? Now imagine how difficult it is to swim or even float when you have that feeling in your arms and legs and that loss of ability to move leads to drowning.

What can you do?

  • Cold water shock lasts between a minute and two minutes as your body adapts to the cold.
  • You will GASP
  • Your heart rate will speed up
  • Roll on to your back and try to float (keep mouth out of water)
  • Take slow deep BREATHS
  • Keep calm

The benefit of swimming and dipping in open water are well documented. Not only does being in or on open water allow new adventure it also has documented benefits for both physical and mental wellbeing. The basic principles of open water safety combined with knowledge and understanding of the hazards, can increase the enjoyment of open water and significantly reduce the number of incidents that occur each year.

Remember, If you get into difficulties:

  • Float
  • Breathe
  • Relax