Drowning Prevention Week – 14th to 24th June 2019

Do your pupils (and staff!) know how to stay safe around water? With summer fast approaching, teaching children to be safe near water becomes increasingly important. Latest stats show that 56 children under the age of 11 years old drowned in the UK in the last 5 years, with more than 300 people accidentally drowning every year. And for every drowning death that occurs, there are more than 10 near drownings, with many of these leading to life changing injuries.

We are supporting the RLSS UK’s Drowning Prevention Week campaign, running from 14th to 24th June, to help put water safety at the forefront of everyone’s mind in the lead up to summer, a high-risk time of year for drowning. Drowning Prevention Week is a national, awareness raising campaign and every year schools, leisure centres, community groups, businesses and MPs use the RLSS free downloadable resources to teach invaluable lessons about staying safe near water.

To sign your school up free (it takes no more than 2 minutes!) and to access some great resources go to https://www.rlss.org.uk/drowning-prevention-week

Key statistics:

  • Some 52% of accidental drownings happen in open water
  • More than 80% of all accidental drownings are male
  • More than 56% never intended to be in the water
  • Around 34% of accidental drownings happen in the summer
  • The highest percentage of drownings occur with 20-29 year olds

Key messages:

Making sure your pupils know the Water Safety Code: Whenever you are around the water:

  • Stop and think – look for the dangers, always read the signs
  • Stay together – never swim alone. Always go with friends or family
  • In an emergency: Call 999 or 112 and shout for help
  • Float – if you fall in, float or swim on your back. Throw something in that floats to anyone that falls in.

Summer safety messages:

On holiday:

  • Is there a lifeguard at the pool or beach?
  • Check bathing sites for hazards, check the safest places to swim and always read the signs – find out what local warning signs and flags mean. Take time to check the depth, water flow and layout of pools
  • Swim with an adult
  • On beaches check when the tide will be high and low and make sure that you won’t be cut off from the beach exit by the rising tide. Also, be aware of dangerous rip-currents
  • Inflatables like dinghies or lilos are a well-known hazard – every year someone drowns when inflatables are blown out to sea. Do not use them in open water
  • Do not swim near to or dive from rocks, piers, breakwater or coral
  • Swim parallel to the beach and close to the shore

In Open Water:


  • Swim at unsupervised (un-lifeguarded sites) including lakes, quarries reservoirs and rivers • Jump into the water until you have acclimatised to the water temperature
  • Jump into the water from heights or ‘tombstone’
  • Swim into deep water which will be colder


  • Swim at supervised (lifeguarded) sites
  • Swim parallel with the shore, where you can quickly get to safety
  • Swim with friends or family, so that you can help each other if you need to
  • Look for signs and advice about the specific dangers at the place where you are swimming • Think about what you will do if something goes wrong
  • Contact a reputable outdoor pursuits or coasteering centre if you want to take part in more extreme activities