Welcome to My RLSS UK, an online area dedicated to providing our qualification holders, members, stakeholders, and supporters with easy access to the latest industry safety guidance, policies, resources, and opportunities. As well as providing specialist information, the area signposts you to relevant services and features within your RLSS UK Account (powered by tahdah). 

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A new report from the Water Safety All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) authored by the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) and supported by the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF), was launched yesterday (21 June) at Westminster.

The launch event, sponsored by TWF (The Wetsuit Factory), was attended by over 20 MPs, including: The Speaker of the House of Commons, The Rt Hon Sir Lindsay Hoyle; Lord Addington; Baroness Bottomley; and Rob Butler MP for Aylesbury who gave an account from a member of his constituency Stephanie Williams about her daughter Sunnah, who tragically lost her life last month.

Speaker of the House of Commons

MPs had a chance to meet with representatives from organisations such as RLSS UK, RNLI, Speedo, Water Babies, RoSPA, the National Child Mortality Database (NCMD), the Maritime Coastal Agency (MCA), and key organisations from the aquatics industry who contributed to the report.

Former professional swimmer, and Speedo Ambassador, Michael Gunning was also present and spoke about his experiences within the industry. Water Safety APPG chair Giles Watling opened the launch event to his colleagues at Westminster.

Giles commented: "In my years as a yachtsman and keen swimmer, I have come to learn the dangers that water can pose. To this end, suitable education on the threats, and how to mitigate the risks, is vital.

“I am grateful as the Chair of the APPG for Water Safety to have been able to work with RLSS UK and find out more about the work that they are doing in this area to address this. The findings of this report into what is currently being done – and what remains to be done – to save lives and prevent deaths by drowning, is welcome reading.

“We need to be clear: in the UK, there is clear intent to be on and enjoy the water. 226 people accidentally drowned in 2022, and only through better education about how to stay safe will we bring the number of fatalities down. Everyone should be able to enjoy the water whilst remaining informed on how to avoid tragic incidents, and I am pleased to see that RLSS UK is working to achieve just that.”

The report has provided a real picture of accidental drownings in the UK and uses data from the Water Incident Database (WAID) as well as other data sources to provide the UK Government with evidence backed data on why the approach to drowning prevention needs to be improved.

The report is also available for members of the public on the RLSS UK website and headline stats include:

  • 151 accidental fatalities occurred in England, the highest of all the UK nations.
  • Scotland and Wales had the highest accidental fatality rate, more than double that of England.
  • 83% of accidental fatalities were male.
  • There was a 46% increase in the number of accidental fatalities amongst children, compared to the 5-year average.
  • 19 people lost their life across four consecutive days in July as UK temperatures reached record highs.
  • 60% of accidental fatalities occurred inland.
  • In summer 2022, there were 40% more accidental fatalities inland than on the coast.
  • 26% accidental fatalities were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

Lee Heard, Charity Director at RLSS UK, presented the report findings at the event and highlighted the importance of educating everyone on water safety.

Lee said: “This report presents the current picture of UK drowning as analysed from 2022, and also identifies trends in relation to data over a five-year period. Progress is being made across the UK, however, the report clearly shows that we need enhanced Government involvement to collectively progress to deliver the current targets set by the NWSF, Water Safety Wales (WSW) and Water Safety Scotland (WSS).

“We are grateful to the great number of MPs who attended the event yesterday and we look forward to working with the UK Government to deliver the reports recommendations which include innovative solutions to better deliver school swimming; mandating that every child should have a class-based water safety lesson at each key stage; and investing in initiatives to address the increase in child drowning fatalities. 

“Together with other members of the NWSF, we will continue with our work and commitment to prevent future drownings.”

View the report

Lee Cooper, Managing Director at TWF (The Wetsuit Factory) who sponsored the event, said: “At TWF we believe it is crucial for Water Safety Education to reach the classrooms.

“Increasing Water Safety Education will ensure children from all backgrounds are aware of the dangers for themselves and others.  They should be able to confidently self-rescue allowing them to be safe in, around and on all types of water.

“TWF are in full support of RLSS UK and Water Safety APPG on their mission to get this into our school curriculum.”

The report was launched in the week of RLSS UK’s annual Drowning Prevention Week, where the charity aims to educate children and their families on water safety to ensure they are able to enjoy water safely ahead of the summer holidays.

TWF logo

A huge thank you to TWF (The Wetsuit Factory) for their generosity and support in sponsoring the 2022 report and launch event. 

Drowning Prevention Week provides free resources to families to provide education for all.

Drowning Prevention Week