Representatives from Water Safety Scotland and the Fife Water Safety Initiative are set to attend Scottish Parliament on 23 March as a motion is to be raised to increase awareness of the need for water safety education across Scotland.

The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), RNLI, Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue have worked tirelessly together to increase the awareness of water safety and drowning prevention across Fife following the tragic death of Cameron Lancaster and John McKay who both died at Preston Hill Quarry, Fife, within a ten-month period last year.

Since the formation of the multi-agency partnership, vital water safety lessons have been delivered to secondary school children across Fife, initially starting at Inverkeithing High School in November last year.

Around 400 people needlessly die from drowning in the UK every year and thousands more suffer injury, some life-changing, through near-drowning experiences. Putting these figures into context, one person dies every 20 hours in the UK. Latest figures* show Scotland has a higher rate of drowning than England and Wales.

The motion, which is set to be raised, will see Members of the Scottish Parliament debate the Fife Water Safety Initiative with the aim for the initiative to be rolled out across Scotland and water safety to be part of the Curriculum of Excellence in Scotland to help reduce the overall drowning rate.

The news follows the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) launch of the UK’s first drowning prevention strategy on March 1, which aims to halve the number of fatal incidents on or near water.

RLSS UK Community Drowning Prevention Co-ordinator for Scotland and Vice Chair of Water Safety Scotland, Kenny MacDermid, said: “This is a big step forward for Scotland in ensuring that members of the public, in particular our young people, know the risks associated with water.

“Scotland has a higher rate of drownings than England and Wales and this is something that we can all work together to change. It is really positive that this debate is taking place and hope that it will bring the cause to the attention of those who can help reduce the number of drownings. One drowning is one too many.”

Cameron Lancaster’s mother, Gillian Barclay has been heavily involved in the Fife Water Safety Initiative. She said: “Like every parent who’s lost a child through accidental drowning, I can’t bear the thought of another family suffering such loss, especially when I know there is more that can be done to help young people understand the dangers of open water.

“This water safety education programme is amazingly good at engaging young people in a creative and fun way and I’m deeply grateful to be able to honour Cameron’s memory in such a positive way by telling his story to youngsters to help them think about the consequences of putting themselves at risk near water.”

RNLI Youth Education Manager, Becs Miller added: “Our overall aim is to ensure that young people understand how to respect the water, consider effects of their behaviour and how they can help keep others safe in their community.”