Key Issues

Each of RoSPA’s departments have a number of key issues, in which we will try to address a situation that needs a champion. The Leisure Safety department’s two key issues for the next year are:


Addressing the lack of a strategic approach to water safety by Government

The aim is to encourage the Government to establish a single set of civil servants with overall responsibility for water safety (Responsibilities for inland water are spread across several Government Departments and Agencies).

What is RoSPA doing?

  • The major cross cutting review of water safety ‘Roles and Responsibilities’ was completed and recommendations from that report agreed with our concerns.
  • The National Water Safety Forum has replaced the National Water Safety Committee (NWSC). The re-organisation of the existing committee was prompted by the Government's review into inland water safety, lead by the Department for Transport*. The review, known as 'Roles and Responsibilities' recognised that responsibility for inland water safety was spread across a number of Government departments and recommended the establishment of an interdepartmental group with links to the NWSC.
  • Following the Government review, the structure of the NWSC was considered. The Government was keen to see a wider, enhanced, membership of the committee to encourage full involvement by all relevant and interested organisations. It was recognised that to enable the Committee to grow its membership, it would be necessary to reorganise, as currently with so many organisations represented, time for relevant issues to be discussed was at a premium. It was also essential to ensure that links with Government were strengthened. RoSPA provides the secretariat for the Forum with funding from the Department for Transport and the Department of the Environment and Rural Affairs.
  • A dedicated website has been established which explains the aims and the roles of the forum: www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk
  • Hope to ensure that further proposals are developed and that the NWSF grasps the opportunity to become the national focal point for water safety and the suggested linkages to bring together all the Government Departments and Agencies who have responsibility for water safety or who’s actions affect water safety in some new forum occurs.
  • Supported a number of campaigns to meet these objectives.

*'Inland Water Safety: Final Report of Scoping Study: Present Roles and Responsibilities: August 2002: www.dft.gov.uk

Reducing the number of UK tourist drowning abroad

There are approximately 65 million trips abroad each year taken by UK citizens, the vast majority of travellers heading towards the sun for warmth or beach holiday.

Between the years 2000-2005 four hundred and seventy five British tourists drowned on holiday.

  • The majority were aged 30-70 years old.
  • There were 57 children - these children predominately drown in swimming pools in hotels or villas where the family is staying.
  • Almost a third occurred while victims were swimming and related to finding themselves in difficulty, being swept away by strong currents or rip tides .

The aim is to pursue the belief held by RoSPA and other members of the NWSF that more could be done to reduce such accidents. A coordinated campaign working with partners within the UK and abroad, firstly to raise awareness of the problem and later: improve data collection, issue better guidance and eventually improve safety and design standards, needs to be developed.

What is RoSPA doing?

  • Collate drowning statistics for Briton's abroad to improve our understanding of UK drowning abroad.
  • Work with European partners to improve safety and conditions, particularly in hotel swimming pools
  • Taking the lead in the development of new beach safety information and standards, both within the UK and internationally.
  • Chair the UK Water Safety information standard development committee, on behalf of BSI and provide the UK expert to the mirror ISO.
  • Summer 2004 saw the launch of Safety on Beaches. These guidelines aim to alert operators to their responsibilities for public safety on beaches and the range of safety measures available to them. This is likely to be adopted as a European ILSE document.
  • RoSPA presented a paper to the world congress in 2003, highlighting that more British tourist drown in foreign pools than they do in the UK. Further research was undertaken to establish if this is a European pattern, and identify the key reasons for the incidents.

The Future

  • Would like to see a system of licensing and inspection of water sports operators in the EU.
  • The adoption of the draft EU standard for managing and designing swimming pools.
  • Clear and started safety information enabling tourist make better informed decision about their hotels and resorts.

Related Information:

Related RoSPA Press Releases:

*RoSPA cannot be held responsible for the accuracy or completeness of any pages on linked websites.

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