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Swim England backing RLSS UK's Drowning Prevention Week campaign

Swim England is backing a nationwide campaign which aims to help families stay water safe and be more aware of the potential dangers of swimming in lakes, rivers and the sea.

The Royal Life Saving Society UK’s Drowning Prevention Week takes place from 12-19 June.

It is the seventh year that RLSS UK has staged the event – and it’s more important than ever before due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a reduced level of service provided by rescue and lifeguard services across the country – meaning people should take extra care when visiting beaches and inland water locations.

Swim England has teamed up with the RLSS UK and British Triathlon to create open water safety guidance – and is encouraging even the most experienced swimmers to fully asses the risks.

To raise awareness of Drowning Prevention Week, RLSS UK has produced a wide-range of free, downloadable resources to help promote water safety through schools, swimming clubs, community ventures and businesses.

The charity hopes that the campaign will help see a reduction in approximately 700 people losing their lives to drowning every year – and many more suffering life changing injuries following a water-related incident.

Jon Glenn, Swim England Learn to Swim and Workforce Director, said the recognised national governing body for aquatics was pleased to play its part in trying to reduce that figure.

He said: “It is so important to remind people to stay safe and take personal responsibility near water, especially during these unprecedented times.

“We are only too happy to be supporting the RLSS UK with Drowning Prevention Week.

Help avoid further tragedy

Drowning Prevention Week logo

“Most people are surprised to learn that you are more likely to die from drowning in the UK, than you are from being hit by a car or in a domestic fire.

“We urge as many people as possible to take advantage of the RLSS UK’s resources and learn what could be potentially life saving skills.

“With the majority of locations around the country not having lifeguards at the current time, it’s imperative everyone – including the most experienced open water swimmers – are fully aware of the risks before getting into the water.

“Our partnership with the RLSS UK and British Triathlon has helped produced key guidance on how to stay safe in open water and help avoid further tragedy.”

Robert Gofton, RLSS UK CEO, said: “This year’s campaign will focus on encouraging everybody to take personal responsibility near water, especially in light of the current challenges facing our emergency and rescue services.

“Venues and rescue services are doing everything they can to provide a service this summer, but the harsh reality is that in the current climate, despite a big effort, the usual level of service just isn’t feasible.

“Accidental drowning incidents are largely avoidable if the correct choices are made, coupled with the skills and knowledge for personal survival and bystander rescue.

“These skills are easy to learn and free to access. We are urging individuals and families to take care, take responsibility and learn what to do in an emergency.

“We thank Swim England for getting involved with the campaign, and for helping people learn the skills they need to enjoy water safely”.

To find out more about Drowning Prevention Week, visit the RLSS UK website.