Experts committed to cutting down drowning incidents in Scotland will be joining forces at The Water Safety Scotland Conference in Edinburgh next week.
RLSS UK will join a host of organisations at the conference on Tuesday 21 March to launch the draft Scottish response to the UK’s Drowning Prevention Strategy.
Other organisations taking part include RoSPA, RNLI, and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Scottish Ambulance Service, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Samaritans, and Perth and Kinross Council.
Speakers will cover a range of subjects at the conference such as cold water shock, water safety education in schools, suicide and safe open water spaces. RLSS UK Technical Director, Adrian Lole and Head of Volunteering, Lee Heard will both be addressing the conference.
Each year on average, 400 people across the UK die in accidental drownings and Scotland is considered a high-risk area due to its surrounding coastline and 30,000 freshwater lochs.
The RLSS UK’s National Drowning Prevention Co-ordinator and Vice- Chair of Water Safety Scotland, Kenny MacDermid, said: “We are delighted to be working with our partners to launch the initial draft Scottish response to the UK Drowning Prevention Strategy.
“With Scotland having double the number of drownings per head of the population compared to the rest of the UK, this first step towards a final strategy is a key driver in reducing accidental drownings.”
Liz Smith MSP supports the move to promote drowning prevention in Scotland, and recently met with RLSS UK’s Mike Dunn and Kenny MacDermid. She said: “Every year far too many people across Scotland drown in our lochs, rivers and seas and we must work together to ensure that this number reduces. It is particularly concerning that the proportion of people drowning in Scotland is twice that of England and it is important that we have a specific Scottish response to the UK Drowning Strategy.
“The Royal Life Saving Society UK is working hard to ensure that people across the country are aware of the dangers posed by open water. Raising awareness and increasing education are central to reducing deaths and the RLSS are a vital part of this effort.”