ABTA and the Royal Life Saving Society UK urge holidaymakers to ‘Swim Safely’. As European authorities remind people to be ‘vigilant’ in and around the water.

With eight million British holidaymakers heading overseas for a holiday in August and millions making the most of summer on the UK coastline, ABTA and the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), the Drowning Prevention Charity, are again reminding holidaymakers to follow safety tips and swim safely.

In Europe, authorities are warning families and holidaymakers to be especially careful this summer as record temperatures have encouraged people unaccustomed to the water to go swimming. Sadly, in France alone, over 115 people – locals and holidaymakers – have drowned in the sea, rivers, lakes and pools, since the summer began. This higher than average number has prompted French authorities to urge families and holidaymakers to be ‘vigilant’ when swimming this summer.

Last year ABTA was made aware of 16 fatal drownings abroad of UK holidaymakers, seven in swimming pools and nine in the sea.

ABTA and the RLSS UK encourage people to be aware of the following when swimming:

Families should take care around water and not rely on lifeguards
Families are urged to take particular care and parents are reminded to keep children under constant supervision, even when lifeguards are available. Lifeguards where present are there to observe and predict unsafe situations as well as providing assistance and help during an emergency, they are not there to supervise individual children. Always follow pool and beach rules and local signs, check the pool layout to know where the deep and shallow ends are and never leave your child unsupervised.

Simple steps save lives
Sadly, accidents happen each year and drownings are reported which could have been avoided by taking some simple precautions, such as following safety information. ABTA research* in 2014 worryingly revealed that over one in ten people (12%) don’t check safety information, such as zoned areas for boats or jet skis before they swim. This is especially important on holiday, where people typically swim in unfamiliar environments. Don’t be misled, just because the sea looks calm, that it is always safe. Check warning flags and signage on the beach. Beware of dangerous currents: these can be very powerful. Ask locally if there are any known dangerous currents or dangers caused by the tides and avoid swimming in these areas.

Know your ability
ABTA research shows that that one in five people (18%)* know someone who has got into difficulty whilst swimming on holiday and incidents can also occur when people overestimate their swimming ability or fitness. Many holidaymakers may not realise how much more challenging swimming in open water can be, even for strong swimmers. Holidaymakers should also be aware of dangerous currents or rip tides which can be very powerful.

Nikki White, ABTA’s Head of Destinations and Sustainability, said: “With the main summer season underway, millions of holidaymakers will be heading to some fantastic destinations at home and abroad. Unfortunately, each year there are accidents in the water, some with devastating consequences. Swimming should be one of the pleasures of a holiday, and simple steps can save lives, keep you and your loved ones safe, and help keep the water fun for everyone this summer and beyond.”

RLSS UK, Chief Executive, Di Steer said: “As the UK’s Drowning Prevention Charity we are delighted to again join ABTA in highlighting water safety to all those going on holiday. Swimming and enjoying the water on holiday, whether at home or abroad, is a huge part of the summer break, but it’s important that children and adults alike know what their limitations are and that they treat the pool and the sea as very different environments.

“We all know water is fun but it’s truly tragic that people lose their lives to accidental drowning every year, and that near drowning incidents – many of which could have been avoided – are all too common. Have fun in the water but I would urge everyone to read our safety advice before their trip and also educate their children. It could be the best decision people make, as important as remembering their passport, and avoid a summer holiday becoming a family tragedy.”

ABTA works closely with its Members providing information for holidaymakers on how to stay safe in the water, for more details and to download posters, videos and leaflets visit: www.abta.com/swimsafe

The Royal Life Saving Society UK offers advice and information on its website, as well as information on its lifesaving awards for all ages:www.rlss.org.uk

And remember to stay SAFE with the RLSS UK’s code:

Spot – spot the dangers
Advice – follow safety signs and advice
Friend – stay close to a friend or family member
Emergency – shout for help and call 999 or 112

6 August 2015
* All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2289 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28th – 29th May 2014.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). 

For further information contact:
Gillian Edwards, Senior Public Relations Manager, tel 020 3117 0514
Sean Tipton, Media Relations Manager, tel: 020 3117 0513
Daisy Parker, PR and Campaigns Manager, tel: 020 3117 0531
Out of Hours:  Contact the Duty Press Officer via pager: 07659 190 987

E-mail: [email protected]
Web: www.abta.com
Twitter: @ABTAtravel

About ABTA
ABTA has been at the heart of travel for 65 years. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers – the travelling public – travel with confidence.

The ABTA brand stands for support, protection and expertise. This means consumers have confidence in ABTA; and a strong trust in ABTA Members. These qualities are core to us as they ensure that holidaymakers remain confident in the holiday products that they buy from our Members.

We help our Members and their customers navigate through today’s changing travel landscape by raising standards in the industry; offering schemes of financial protection; providing an independent complaints resolution service should something go wrong; by giving guidance on issues from sustainability to health and safety and by presenting a united voice to government to ensure the industry and the public get a fair deal.

ABTA currently has around 1,200 Members and represents around 4,000 retail outlets and offices. For more details about what we do, what being an ABTA Member means and how we’re working at the heart of the industry to ensure that the British public can travel with confidence visit www.abta.com.