RNLI launches first World Drowning Prevention Day

The RNLI is encouraging people to take action to stay safe as it marks the first World Drowning Prevention Day on 25 July.

According to the RNLI, drowning has taken 2.5 million lives around the world in the last decade and most of those deaths were largely preventable. With summer holidays underway and thousands flocking to the coast this summer, the organisation hopes the day will bring sea safety to the forefront of people’s minds. 

The RNLI is urging anyone choosing to visit the coast to make sure they keep themselves and their families safe by following beach safety advice:

• Visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags – find your nearest at rnli.org.uk/lifeguardedbeaches

• Check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks

• If you fall into the water unexpectedly, float to live. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and float.

• In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Gareth Morrison, head of water safety at the RNLI says: “As we mark World Drowning Prevention Day, it’s important to remind everyone heading to the beach or coast this weekend to respect the water, by understanding how to stay safe and know what to do in an emergency. Three important pieces of advice are to visit lifeguarded beaches, float to live if you get into difficulty and call 999 Coastguard in an emergency. 

“World Drowning Prevention Day reminds us all how important it is to think about safety when being around water. 650 people drown worldwide every day, that is one life lost to drowning every two minutes which is really shocking, especially as most are preventable. 

“Our dedicated lifeboat crew, lifeguards and water safety teams work so hard to keep people safe across the UK and Ireland. We’d like to thank all our lifesavers, both here and further afield on World Drowning Prevention Day.”

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