The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), the Drowning Prevention Charity, has issued a warning after 28 people have lost their lives to drowning since the beginning of July.

The charity is urging people to listen to water safety advice to prevent any more drownings this summer, particularly as it is only around half way through the school holidays.

The warning comes after a four-year-old British boy tragically drowned at a Spanish villa this week, two teenagers; Bonheur Musungay, 14, and Stella Kambi, 17, drowned at Thorpe Marshes reserve, Norfolk, last week and the search for a missing fisherman in the North Sea was suspended yesterday.

Around 400 people needlessly die from drowning in the UK and thousands more suffer injury, some life-changing, through near-drowning experiences. Each year around a quarter of all drowns occurring during July and August.

RLSS UK records also show around an additional 40 UK citizens drown overseas each year.

Of the 28 reported drownings this summer so far, 32 per cent are UK citizens drowning abroad.

RLSS UK Chief Executive, Di Steer said: “Any drowning is a tragedy but the number of people who have lost their lives over the past few weeks, especially abroad, is not only extremely sad but extremely worrying. People have lost their lives in a number of tragic circumstances which prove that water safety and knowledge is so, so important, no matter where you are or what you are doing.

“We want people to listen to our alert and take on board the safety messages we are issuing – advice that could mean the difference between life and death.

“As we are around half way through the summer holidays we don’t want to see any more drownings. We sincerely hope that these are the last drowning tragedies to take place this summer. Please don’t become a statistic.”

The recent drownings also highlight the need for extra attention around any form of water following drownings in family swimming pools, rivers, seas, ponds, canals and lakes.

Follow the below advice and take note of the dangers –


  • Swim at unsupervised (lifeguarded sites)
  • Jump into the water until you have acclimatised to the water temperature
  • Jump into the water from extreme heights
  • Swim into deep water which will be colder
  • Ever leave children unattended near or in water


  • Swim at supervised (lifeguarded) sites
  • Swim parallel with the shore, where you can quickly get to safety
  • Swim with friends or family, so that you can help each other if you need to
  • Look for signs and advice about the specific dangers at the place where you are swimming
  • Think about what you will do if something goes wrong
  • Contact a reputable outdoor pursuits or coasteering centre if you want to take part in more extreme activities

Dangers of open water include:

  • The height of the fall or jump if tombstoning
  • The depth of the water – this changes and is unpredictable
  • Submerged objects may not be visible
  • Obstacles or other people in the water
  • Lack of safety equipment and increased difficulty for rescue
  • The shock of cold water can make swimming difficult and increase the difficulty in getting out of the water
  • Strong currents can rapidly sweep people away
  • Uneven banks and river beds
  • Water quality e.g. toxic algal blooms and industrial/agricultural pollution

All of these hazards can be controlled through proper organisation and planning.

If someone is in difficulty in the water:

  • Shout reassurance to them and shout for help and ensure the emergency services are on their way (call 999 or 112)
  • Without endangering yourself, see if you can reach out to them, extend your reach with a stick, pole, item of clothing, lie down or stay secure. Alternatively throw something buoyant to them such as a ring buoy, part filled plastic container, ball or anything that will float.
  • Keep your eye on them all the time and shout reassurance urging them to propel themselves to safety