Water Safety

Drink-BannerDrowning in the UK is amongst the leading causes of accidental death. In 2015, 321 people accidently drowned – nearly 50% of these people were taking part in everyday activities such as walking or running near water.

We are asking people to be ‘Be Water Aware’


Don’t assume you‘re not at risk of drowning because you don’t intend to go in the water


Safety advice for young adult drinkers:

  • Stay with your group and don’t wander off if you become seperated
  • Keep an eye on any friends who are worse for wear and make sure you help them home
  • Avoid walking near water even if the path is lit, you may not realise how unsteady on your feet you are. In the dark you may not see trip hazards of even the waters edge
  • If you fall in after drinking your chances of being able get out of the water are decreased as alcohol impairs even simple movements
  • Make sure you store a taxi number in your phone and some emergency money at home so you can pay. If the money is at home you can’t lose it or accidently spend it.

Run-BannerSafety advice for runners:

  • Consider joining a running or walking group
  • Be aware and take notice of any warning signs
  • When running or walking next to water, stay clear of the edges
  • River banks and cliff edges may be unstable and give way
  • Wear appropriate footwear and clothing
  • Take a fully charged mobile phone and check signal strength, know how to use it and who to call in an emergency
  • Look out for trip or slip hazards – pay attention to your footing
  • Stick to proper pathways
  • Don’t walk or run next to water if levels are high
  • Make sure you know exactly where you are – consider something like an OS locate app for a smart phone or a map
  • Don’t assume just because you have walked or run a route many times before it is still safe.
  • Avoid walking or running near water in the dark

Safety advice for dog walkers

  • Avoid throwing sticks or balls near water for dogs – they will go after it if they think you want it back even if you’ve thrown it too far or into dangerous water
  • Never enter the water to try and save a dog – the dog usually manages to scramble out
  • Even dogs that like swimming can usually only swim for short bursts – keep and eye of your dog and don’t let it enter the water if it’s older or tired
  • If your dog loves the water keep it on a lead and make sure you have control to prevent it jumping into hazardous or unsafe areas
  • Remember the wet riverbanks, steep edges or jagged rocks can make it hard for a dog to scramble out and be a slip risk for owners
  • Don’t lean into water and try and lift your dog out – you can topple in
  • Dogs can have cold water shock too
  • If your dog has struggled in the water it may have inhaled water and should see a vet as dogs can drown after the event if water has entered the lungs

Safety advice for anglers

  • Check forecast and weather conditions before you go
  • Make sure you let someone know where you are going to fish
  • Make sure you know exactly where you are – consider something like an OS locate app for a smart phone or a map
  • Give them an idea of when you are likely to return
  • Take a fully charged mobile phone and check signal strength, know how to use it and who to call in an emergency
  • Double check your fishing spot. Is it safe? For example, riverbanks can erode and just because it was safe one day doesn’t mean it still is
  • Always dress appropriately, sturdy footwear, sun hat in hot weather, warm layers in cold
  • Coastal and sea fishing is particularly high risk
  • Make sure you know your spot is safe and you won’t get cut off by the tide
  • Wear a lifejacket – expert evidence suggests that many of these lives would have been saved if the casualty had been wearing a lifejacket

Cooling off in rivers, canals, ponds, quarries and lakes can also have deadly consequences. The water may look calm on the surface, but there may be strong undercurrnets that could pull even  astrong swimmer under.

The water may also feel relatively warm on the surface, but just a few feet below can be icy cold even in the hot weather and can very quickly cause severe cramp and hypothermia. Due to these dangers, we urge you not to swim anywhere other than in purpose-built and supervised swimming pools.

The following are some key safety tips for staying safe near water:

  • Alcohol and swimming don’t mix – stay out of the water if you have been drinking
  • Children should always visit open water sites with an adult
  • Always watch your child while at the beach, lake or other natural bodies of water
  • Never let older children swim in unsupervised areas like quarries, canals or ponds
  • Take safety advice – heed notices which warn you of the danger
  • Never tamper with lifesaving equipment – you might need it yourself
  • Never swim near motor boats, jet skis or other power vehicles
  • Learn to spot and keep away from dangerous water
  • Swimming anywhere other than at purpose built and supervised swimming pools is highly dangerous and is not recommended, unless as part of an organised club

Useful links and further information