Water safety

It is important to be aware of the dangers of being around water.

Of all drowning cases in the UK each year, around half of these were during activities such as running, walking, cycling or fishing near the water.

Water in the UK remains cold even on very warm days and if you enter water it could lead to cold water shock.

What to do if you find yourself in water

  • don’t panic
  • float on your back and starfish
  • control your breathing
  • call for help

If you find someone in the water

  • never enter the water to try to save someone, who will save you?
  • call 999 or shout for help
  • get information about where you are – use landmarks, lock numbers or describe what you can see
  • encourage the person to float or swim on their back
  • throw something that floats to anyone who has fallen in. If you want to help get them out of the water, lie with your body on the path and reach in with a scarf or branch

Activities near water

  • if you are running or walking near water it is always better to do it in a group, not on your own
  • be aware of any warning signs
  • keep clear of edges – river banks may be unstable and give way
  • wear appropriate footwear and clothing
  • take a fully charged phone with you and tell someone where you are going
  • look out for hazards on the path
  • stick to proper paths or routes
  • avoid running or walking near water after dark

Advice for the beach

  • it’s safer to use a life guarded beach during patrolled hours. You can find your nearest lifeguarded beach on the RNLI website
  • always supervise your children near water
  • make sure your children know where to go if they get lost and have a meeting point
  • check the tides before you go
  • beware of rip tides and currents
  • look for local signs and flags on display and obey them
  • never enter the water after drinking alcohol

On a night out

  • stay with your group and don’t wander off
  • look out for each other and make sure everyone gets home
  • avoid walking near water
  • make sure you have the number for a taxi to get you home safely
  • plan how you are going to get home before you go out
  • never enter the water after drinking alcohol – it can impair your judgement

Have a go at the Spot the Dangers Game from StayWise.

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