Back in 2018, Water Safety Scotland (WSS) released Scotland’s Drowning Prevention Strategy
with the ambitious target to reduce accidental water-related fatalities by 50 per cent by 2026 and contribute to the reduction of water-related suicide.
Now, at the mid-point of the strategy, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has helped lead WSS’s Strategy Subgroup to review progress as well as potential refinements and changes to move forward in the final years of the strategy.
From the data, we know that water-related fatalities have decreased from the original strategy baseline of 96 to 92 (data years 2016 – 2020). Accidental drowning fatalities over the five-year average have reduced by 12 per cent
in comparison to the baseline, informing us that we are moving in the right direction.
An impressive amount of work has been put together in the last four years by WSS and its members. The Water Safety Code
underpins all the communication in everything WSS does. It’s built upon three simple points:
- Stop and Think, Spot the Dangers
- Stay Together, Stay Close
- In an Emergency, Call 999
Late in April, new education resources based on this code will be launched, which will include free water safety lessons for schools and practitioners based around the progression pathway. These materials will provide the first ever curriculum-aligned water safety resources. The first launch will specifically target 11-15-year-olds, with later levels coming across the year.
Another key output from WSS over the past four years is the development of the Drowning and Incident Review.
Following the publication of Preventing Future Fatalities
report, WSS and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) developed a voluntary Drowning and Incident Review (DIR) process for accidental water-related fatalities in Scotland.
The DIR aims to ensure a comprehensive review of each accidental water-related fatality in order to gather all relevant data and intelligence that may help to prevent future incidents. It is currently being researched and evaluated by a number of partners, including RoSPA. A final report will be due in late autumn.
In addition to this work and countless other work streams within WSS, two new areas of importance have been identified by the Interim Review: the need to bring Search and Rescue organisations together; and the need to focus and help families who have suffered bereavement after losing a loved one to a drowning. WSS is still in its initial phases of these new work streams. You can read all about them and the rest of the Interim Review here
You can also sign up to the RoSPA/WSS conference on Water Safety which features much of the impressive work undertaken by Water Safety Scotland, its subgroup and members. Register for the conference here
RoSPA is committed to and recognises the importance of working together: “No one agency can deliver water safety, it requires all agencies to work together in partnership.”
Carlene McAvoy, Leisure Safety Manager - RoSPA
Posted: 3/25/2022 8:36:25 AM