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:

Developing a strategic approach to water safety by Government

Drowning in the UK accounts for more accidental fatalities annually than fire deaths in the home or cycling deaths on the road.

Almost half of all fatal incidents the person had no intention of being in the water.

What is RoSPA doing?

  • In 2016 there was a significant step forward for water safety in the UK, with the first National Drowning Prevention Strategy being published, and we were proud to be one of the key authors. Produced by the National Water Safety Forum, which we host, the strategy aims to cut water-related deaths by 50 per cent by 2026.
  • We continue to host the National Water Safety Forum. The forum includes the UK's major land and waterway managers, rescue and emergency services and safety and charitable bodies focused on drowning prevention. It includes and is supported by several government bodies, notably the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
  • RoSPA Scotland host and have led the development of Water Safety Scotland.
  • During the year we supported the work of Public Health Wales in their review of child drowning deaths in Wales.
  • We continue to work with communities to develop risk based approaches and plans for drowning prevention. Notably in Durham, York and Bath.
  • We continue to work with sports governing bodies, and leisure activity providers to develop their risk management capacity and plans.
  • We contributed towards the publication of 'Drowning: Prevention, Rescue, Treatment' considered the global handbook for drowning prevention.
  • We continue to work with key partners to improve the evidence base for drowning prevention. Most notably through the Water Incident Database (WAID) service, which includes the historic RoSPA drowning statistics dataset.

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.

Contact Us

Leisure Safety
+44 (0)121 248 2235
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