Drowning is preventable, but an average of 307 UK and Irish Citizens lose their life to accidental drowning on average, each year.

Together, with your support to amplify our water safety education messages, we can make a positive change. Thank you for your ongoing support. 

10 drowning facts 

  1. 307 UK and Irish citizens lose their lives to accidental drowning each year, on average.*
  2. 49% of UK accidental drownings occur between May and August.
  3. 19 people drowned across 4 days in July 2022 as temperatures exceeded 38°C.
  4. 83% of those that accidentally drown in the UK are male.
  5. 59% of UK accidental drownings occur in inland waters e.g. rivers, lakes and canals.
  6. Alcohol and/or drugs are a factor in 29% of all UK accidental drownings.
  7. In our analysis, 73% of drownings occurred in the absence of professional supervision, such as an RLSS UK qualified lifeguard.~
  8. 44% of those that lost their lives to accidental drowning in the UK never intended to be in the water.
  9. In our analysis of outdoor drownings in the UK, cold water shock was cited in 38% of cases.^
  10. The number of child drowning deaths in England has doubled in the last 4 years.^^

Drowning is preventable.  We provide expert lifesaving education in the UK and Ireland, protecting families from the sudden and devastating impact of drowning.

Notes: Unless otherwise stated, data taken from WAID (2018-2022).  * Source: UK drowning data taken from WAID (2019-2023).  Irish data taken from Water Safety Ireland (2019-2023).  These numbers do not include UK or Irish nationals drowning overseas. ~ RLSS UK analysis of supervision based on n=240 cases of accidental drowning in the UK. ^RLSS UK analysis on cold-water shock based on n=133 cases of accidental drowning in outdoor water in the UK.^^ Source: National Child Mortality Database (NCMD) 2019-20 to 2022-23.

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10 child drowning facts 

  1. In the last 5 years, 119 children accidentally drowned in the UK.
  2. 71% of UK child drownings occur between May and August.
  3. 79% of children that accidentally drown in the UK are male.
  4. 84% of UK child drownings occur in inland waters e.g., rivers, lakes and canals.
  5. The number of child drowning deaths in England has doubled in the last 4 years.^^
  6. Drowning is currently reported as one of the leading causes of child trauma-related deaths in England.
  7. 83% of child drownings in England occurred in the absence of adult supervision.
  8. The risk of drowning in England is 3.5 x higher for children of Black ethnicity compared to White ethnicity.
  9. The risk of drowning is 2x higher for children from the more deprived areas of England, compared to those from the least
  10. deprived.
  11. In our analysis, 71% of children aged 13-17 that accidentally drowned in the UK were swimmers.

No child should drown.  We provide expert lifesaving education in the UK and Ireland, protecting families from the sudden and devastating impact of drowning.

Notes: UK drowning data taken from WAID (2018-2022).  Irish data taken from Water Safety Ireland (2018-2022).  These numbers do not include UK or Irish nationals drowning overseas. Unless otherwise stated, data for England taken from the National Child Mortality Database (NCMD) Report Deaths of children and young people due to traumatic incidents, July 2023.  RLSS UK analysis based on n=120 cases of accidental drowning amongst teens aged 13-17 years. .^^ Source: National Child Mortality Database (NCMD) 2019-20 to 2022-23.

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