With two May Bank Holiday weekends on the horizon, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) -the drowning prevention charity – is encouraging families to stay safe whilst enjoying the outdoors.

With more daylight hours and finally a hint of sunshine, thousands of families will flock to picnic and spend time by the seaside, rivers or quarries. Whilst open water can be a source of fun and learning for families with young children, it also presents very real and often underestimated dangers if simple safety rules are ignored.

More than 60 children drown during the summer every year in the UK, yet the majority of these deaths are likely to have been preventable. Around 85 per cent of accidental drownings occur at open water sites, and many of these occur due to lack of knowledge and understanding of the hazards associated.

“Being clear on water safety and steps to take to keep everyone safe in and around water could mean the difference between an enjoyable day out, and a devastating family tragedy,” says RLSS UK Director of Lifesaving, Adrian Lole.

Here, the RLSS UK offers some simple but valuable tips to keep your family safe around open water.

Water Safety Tips:

  • Check the tidal activity when at the coast
  • Avoid drifting in the currents
  • Get out of the water as soon as you start to feel cold
  • Swim parallel to the shore (not away from it)
  • Ensure children’s buoyancy aids fit properly
  • Take extra care on river banks, they are often slippery and can crumble and beware of locks and weirs where water flows quickly

In addition to the above tips, ensure you and your family know the SAFE code:

  • Spot – spot the dangers
  • Advice – follow safety signs and advice
  • Friend – stay close to a friend or family member
  • Emergency – shout for help and call 999 or 112