The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) has vowed to continue its tireless work to reduce drownings across the UK and Ireland following the latest figures published today (Friday).

The drowning prevention charity aims to cut the number of people who lose their lives to drowning through water safety education, lifesaving awards for all ages and targeted behavioural change campaigns.

The latest figures from the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF), of which RLSS UK is a partner, reveal there were a total of 381 drownings in water related deaths from accidents or natural causes in 2013.

The age group with the highest number of fatalities (31) were men aged between 20 and 24. Meanwhile, 0 to 19s accounted for 12 per cent of deaths (46), of which more than half were teenagers aged 15 to 19 (27).

The leading activities people were taking part in when they drowned were walking alongside water and falling in, swimming (predominantly in open water) and jumping into open water.

RLSS UK’s chief executive, Di Steer, said: “The 2013 figures confirm those people that are most at risk of losing their lives to drowning, include teenagers and young men and walkers and runners. We will maintain our focus of reaching these groups with our messages, in a bid to raise awareness of the risks and ultimately save lives as, tragically, many of these deaths could have been preventable.

“Drowning Prevention Week, our annual awareness campaign, this year gathered pace and we saw thousands of schools, leisure centres and individuals join our volunteers in raising awareness through activities and fundraising. We are getting the message out there but there is always more we can so as, tragically, many of the drownings in 2013 were preventable.

“This is why we will continue our work to get water safety education on the national curriculum and delivered to all 18-year-olds by working with the 44 MPs who have already pledged to support us, as well as working with local authorities and landowners in order to try and get more, safer, lifeguarded, open water sites open to the public.”

The peak summer months of July and August witnessed the most deaths with106 during the heat wave period.

Di added: “This summer we will, again, be reminding people of the dangers of open water and encouraging them to enjoy the water safely at designated sites. We do not want to see a repeat of last summer’s tragedies.”

As part of drowning prevention week, RLSS UK also launched a short hard-hitting film to attempt to reach young men and boys, warning them of the dangers posed by open water. It can be viewed on the RLSS UK YouTube channel at

The NWSF’s Water Incident Database (WAID) breaks down drownings and other water-related deaths by activity, age and location type. For more information on the NWSF and the figures visit