Don’t Drink and Drown is a national campaign that warns drinkers to steer clear of walking by or entering water when under the influence of alcohol.

Research indicates that around a quarter of all adult drowning victims have alcohol in their bloodstream.

The campaign was launched following a string of tragic student drownings. It has two targeted time frames through the year in September and December, where RLSS UK and partners push messaging.

Ross Irwin sadly lost his life in December 2016, read his story here.

Click here to make a donation to this campaign.

Click here to find out how to support the campaign online.

Our advice

Stay Safe

  • Don’t enter the water if you have been drinking
  • Alcohol seriously affects your ability to get yourself out of trouble
  • Look out for your friends, make sure they get home safely
  • Don’t walk home near water, you might fall in

Effects of alcohol on the body

  • Alcohol lowers inhibitions, leading to impaired judgment which means you are more likely to take risks and get into trouble
  • Alcohol limits muscle ability making simple movements much harder
  • Alcohol slows down your reactions making it more difficult to get yourself out of trouble
  • Alcohol numbs the senses particularly sight, sound and touch, making swimming very difficult

Evidence supporting campaign

There were 451 accidental drownings involving alcohol and/or drugs in the United Kingdom from 2013-2017, with an average of 90 per year. This represents 29% of all accidental drownings that occurred in the UK during this period.

There are 4 distinct groups within this data.

  • Intoxicated walkers: 255 fatalities. Assumed to be walking home after drinking.
  • Intoxicated water users: 153 fatalities. Intentionally engaging with aquatic activity after drinking.
  • Intoxicated found in water: 29 fatalities. Insufficient evidence to allocate these individuals to either group.
  • Intoxicated land-based transport: 14 fatalities. Driving a vehicle or cycling while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Click here to find out how to support the campaign.