RoSPA is joining a host of organisations to put water safety under the spotlight at the charity’s annual Scottish conference.
The Water Safety Conference, taking place on Tuesday (March 21) in association with Water Safety Scotland and supported by the RNLI, Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, will feature a range of speakers covering a breadth of subjects relating to the important issue.
Each year on average, 400 people across the UK die in accidental drownings, while another 200 take their own life in the UK’s waters.
As part of the conference programme, chairman of Water Safety Scotland Michael Avril will unveil the draft Scottish response to the UK Drowning Prevention Strategy, which was launched last year in an effort to cut accidental drowning deaths in half by 2026. Other topics include cold shock, water safety education in schools, suicide, and safe open water spaces.
Gillian Barclay, who lost her 18-year-old son Cameron when he drowned in Preston Hill Quarry, Inverkeithing, in August 2014 will be addressing the conference on the impact of drowning on the family members left behind.
Experts from RoSPA, the RNLI and RLSS will give talks, along with those from the Scottish Ambulance Service, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Samaritans, Perth and Kinross Council, and the University of Portsmouth. There will also be a question and answer session, and networking opportunities for delegates.
Carlene McAvoy, community safety development officer for RoSPA Scotland, said: “Accidental drowning is completely avoidable, and yet hundreds of people die in the UK each year causing devastation and heartbreak for their families. This is unacceptable, and something RoSPA and other organisations are determined to tackle.”
Annabelle Ewing MSP, Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, will be giving the Scottish Government’s perspective at the conference.
She said: “RoSPA continues to lead the way in accident prevention and I would like to congratulate them for reaching their centenary this year.
“With more than 30,000 freshwater lochs in Scotland, a country surrounded by coastline, awareness of water safety is crucial to help people both enjoy and protect themselves. I would like to pay tribute to the emergency responders and voluntary organisations, including RoSPA, who do their best to promote water safety and rescue those who do get into trouble.”
To book a place at the conference, email email@example.com, or call 0131 449 9373.