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RLSS UK Summer Water Safety Advice

Summer is an amazing time to enjoy our beautiful waterways but we must be mindful that according to RLSS UKs National Drowning Report 2023 warmer weather is directly linked to an increase in fatal drowning incidents.

46% of drownings occur in the summer months and this rises to 75% amongst 13 – 17-year olds.

Rivers and Lakes/Lochs pose the greatest statistical risk as there are often hazards that the average person is equipped to handle and there is a lack of professional supervision.

Accidents are mostly preventable with the correct knowledge and judgment and here are our tips to staying safe in the water during the summer:

Stop and Think

Is the area safe? Think about potential hazards - too deep, too shallow, currents, tides, underwater objects?

Enter slowly and carefully and never jump from heights.

Think carefully about your ability to splash or swim in cold outdoor water. 49% of those who lost their life were classified as swimmers*. Are you really a good swimmer?

Research local information, conditions - read local signs and speak to locals, including the lifeguards.

Stay Together

Supervision – over 70% of fatal accidents occur in the absence of professional supervision*. Seek lifeguarded areas and always make sure someone is available to raise the alarm.

Don’t go too far – enter the water slowly and stay within a standing depth.

Call 999

​Ask for the Fire and Rescue Service when inland and the Coastguard if at the coast. Don’t enter the water to rescue.

Be sure everyone in your group knows who to call in the event of an emergency. If you are abroad, be sure you know the correct number to call.


Fall in or become tired – stay calm, float on your back and call for help. Throw something that floats to somebody that has fallen in.

Make sure the whole family knows basic water safety and what to do if they find themselves in the water unexpectedly.

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