Water safety and drowning
Drowning – the facts
Every year, in the UK, around 400 people die from drowning as a result of an accident in or around water.
There are thousands of individuals who survive drowning events but who are left with severe, and often permanent, life-changing injuries. Our search, rescue and emergency services respond to over 100,000 water-related rescue, and flood events annually. All of these place huge burdens on families, individuals and society.
Many of these deaths are as a result of simple everyday mistakes, such as a trip or fall into water, or misjudgments such as underestimating the effect of swimming in cold open water unprepared can have. Others result from inherently risky activities including jumping/tombstoning from a great height into water.
What is RoSPA doing?
Addressing the number of people who drown, and how best to tackle the problem has been a key issue for many years. We have looked at the issue of drowning and water safety since the 1960's - a period in which thousands of people drowned annually.
Currently, we seek to reduce the rate and number of drowning deaths by:
- Maintaining an annual record of drowning and water-related incidents by working in partnership with other members of the National Water Safety Forum
- We worked with members of the National Water Safety Forum to produce the UK's first drowning prevention strategy.
- Funding and supporting and leading research into drowning incidents and the associated risks
- Supporting and coordinating the work of the National Water Safety Forum
- Campaigning on key water safety issues such as ensuring every child has the ability to swim to a good standard, and that water safety skills remain a central part of the school curriculum
- Helping to provide information and education opportunities for young people and families through our LASER programme
- Helping managers and leisure providers to maintain safe, well-run environments and companies by providing support, advice information and training.
Our aim is to enable a better understanding of the risks, and promote a balanced approach to preventing drowning deaths.
Drowning death and injuries are preventable
You can make a big difference by:
- Ensuring that you and your family can swim, be water confident, and have water safety skills
- Making smart choices, such as swimming at lifeguarded beaches and pools, using appropriate safety equipment and not drinking alcohol before going in the water. All of these greatly affect your survival chances
- Becoming aware of, and knowing how to avoid key water-safety hazards; such as rips, cold-water, moving water whilst outside.
- Dealing with hazards for children and vulnerable people in and around the home such as ponds, bath, swimming pools
- Taking opportunities for children and teenagers to develop 'risk-competence' by learning about safety by experiencing risk
- Knowing what to do in an emergency
You can also help to further our work by sponsoring a project and/or resource, volunteering your time and experience. Becoming a leisure safety member and supporting our campaigns.