Twenty-seven MPs pledged support to the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) and the crucial work it does in reducing drowning, providing water safety education and lifesaving awards across the UK and Ireland at a special drop in session in Parliament on Tuesday, September 13.

 MPs met with RLSS UK representatives who hoped to gain the support of MPs, so they in turn can support their constituents with drowning prevention messages and save lives.

They learnt about the effects of cold water shock through an interactive experiment where they were asked to tie a shoe lace while their hands were submerged in icy water. They also learnt of tragic examples of people drowning due to cold water shock and that drownings often occur when the victim had no intention of going into the water. 

MPs then signed the RLSS UK’s pledge ‘to support RLSS UK in its aim to reduce the rate of drownings in the UK’.

Nadhim Zahawi, MP for Stratford upon Avon and Chairman of the APPG Water Safety and Drowning Prevention, said: “RLSS UK does brilliant work to educate people in lifesaving skills and water safety across the country, and I am sure that my colleagues will be promoting this vital work throughout their constituencies.” 

RLSS UK Chief Executive, Di Steer, said: “We were overwhelmed with the support offered by MPs during our session on Tuesday and can’t thank them enough for pledging to help us in our efforts. We know that their constituents will benefit from the importance of water safety and drowning prevention messages.

“The number of accidental drowning incidents in the UK and Ireland averages at around 400 a year, that is the equivalent of one person drowning every 20 hours. There is no quick fix to get this number down further. There are many at-risk groups for many different reasons. Education to instil a change in behaviour is considered the only method that will reach the final 400, as well as future generations, and help prevent these tragic deaths and accidents.

“We can’t do it alone. We need everyone’s help to raise awareness about the reality of accidental drowning, and to get water safety at the forefront of people’s minds which is why having MPs support is so vital.”

Each year figures reveal a spike in drownings over the summer months and this summer has followed the tragic trend, with 48 people losing their lives – 15 deaths abroad and 33 deaths in UK waters. At its peak, this summer saw six people drown in a single week in August.