Date published: 19/8/2022

The UK has so far seen a summer filled with heatwaves and extremely warm days. This has resulted in many people heading to our various waterways in an attempt to cool off, however, what may seem like a fun-filled day by the water has often turned into tragedy for many families.

The latest figures from The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) and The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), show that in the UK from June 2022 up until 16 August 2022 there have been 50 fatalities recorded where accidental drowning is suspected.

RLSS UK and RoSPA also announced that tragically the figure is likely to be much higher, but other incidents cannot be confirmed as suspected accidental drownings at this time due to ongoing investigations.

The UK saw 13 fatalities in June, 27 in July, and 10 in August (up until 16 August) and sadly there are reports of even more drownings every day, both here in the UK and with families holidaying abroad. With more warm weather predicted again this weekend RLSS UK says it is crucial that families understand that there are risks associated with the water.

Statistics from RLSS UK show that around two-thirds of children who drown are cited as swimmers, with the charity stating that it is extremely important for people to recognise that their swimming abilities in a swimming pool are unlikely to transfer to the cold open water.

Lee Heard, Charity Director at RLSS UK said: “It is extremely sad and concerning that we are currently seeing such a high number of drownings occurring in the UK. We understand that people may want to take advantage of the warm weather and enjoy the various waterways that we are lucky to have here, but we would urge everyone to ensure they have the right knowledge around water safety and follow some simple safety tips if they are heading to the water.

“Many people underestimate the dangers surrounding open water from cold water shock, to potential obstacles under the surface, as well as strong currents. If you and your family are planning on heading to the water, we would encourage you to follow some simple tips.”

  • You first educate yourself and the risk of open water, understand how to self-rescue and to avoid danger
  • Find a lifeguarded swimming site
  • It’s colder than it looks so go in slowly rather than jumping straight in
  • Don’t go too far, always stay close to the edge or the shore
  • If you find yourself in a rip current resist the urge to fight against it as you will tire easily, swim with the current and call for help
  • Always bring a friend so if anything does go wrong, you have someone to help you.

Lee added: “We know that accidental drowning is avoidable; we do not want to see any more families experience a loss of a loved one in these awful circumstances, and following RLSS UK’s water safety advice will help to reduce the number of drownings and ensure everyone can enjoy water safely.”

If you do find yourself in difficulty in the water, the advice from RLSS UK is Float to Live, lie on your back, spread your arms and legs and call for help. If you see someone else in the water the charity advises you not to enter the water to rescue, call 999 and encourage the person in the water to float on their back.

Summer water safety tips