Research from a national charity, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), shows that one in four adults in the UK would panic if they saw a stranger had fallen into open water, was having difficulty and might drown.

The charity is asking the public if they would know what to do if they saw someone in difficulty in the water. With a number of high-profile drowning cases hitting the media in the last year, the charity is looking to educate more people on the Water Safety Code to ensure everyone can stay safe around the water.

With the summer holidays just around the corner, the charity’s annual Drowning Prevention Week campaign (17-24 June) will be sharing vital messages with the public to ensure that people understand how to stay safe, and if they do see someone in difficulty, that they know what to do.

The research from the Royal Life Saving Society UK also showed that one in four UK adults would enter the water to try and help a stranger who has fallen into open water and was having difficulty. The charity also noted that a further 25% would not be sure whether to enter the water or not.

Lee Heard, Charity Director at RLSS UK said: “With June, July, and August proving to be the months with the most fatalities, it is vitally important that everyone has an understanding of water safety, especially during the summer months.

“We might see people heading to the various waterways in the UK and Ireland on warm summer days and entering the water to cool off. We want people to enjoy the waters that the UK and Ireland has to offer but to do so with the right knowledge and to do so safely.

“We often see that people see someone else in difficulty in the water and they try to help by entering the water themselves, this often results in them getting into difficulty too. The best thing to do when you see someone in difficulty in the water is not to panic, call 999 and try to throw them something that floats that they can hold on to. We would then advise to keep talking to the person in the water, keep watching them, and wait for the emergency services to arrive.”

In 2022, 105 people drowned during June, July and August and the charity’s Drowning Prevention Week campaign aims to reduce this figure significantly.

The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) has a range of free educational resources available on its website for children, young people and parents and are holding their annual Drowning Prevention Week campaign between 17-24 June to equip everyone across the UK and Ireland with the skills and knowledge to make the right decisions about water safety.

Lee Heard continued: “This year for Drowning Prevention Week we are aiming to educate more people than ever about water safety and give children the skills to enjoy a lifetime of fun in the water.

“We have a range of free educational resources available on the RLSS UK website, including lesson plans for schools and resources for parents, as well as a brand-new animation to allow families to start the conversation about water safety by learning the Water Safety Code.”

Drowning Prevention Week takes place 17-24 June and free resources can be downloaded now.

View Drowning Prevention Week resources