The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), the drowning prevention charity, is warning drinkers throughout the festive period to steer clear of walking near to or entering water when under the influence of alcohol.

The charity is warning drinkers to act responsibly near water after they have been drinking – and to make sure they and their friends avoid walking home near bodies of water as each year people lose their lives by drowning after or during a night out.

RLSS UK will be issuing its short, powerful and thought provoking film that sees the effects of alcohol on a young person when in the water. Alongside the film there will be a host of social media awareness posts and graphics with the hashtag #DontDrinkandDrown to raise awareness of the dangers of being near water when under the influence of alcohol.

Research shows that around a quarter of all adult drowning victims and a third of all 18 to 21-years-old drowning victims have alcohol in their bloodstream*.

Di Steer, RLSS UK Chief Executive, said: “People die each year after entering the water with alcohol in their bloodstream, either deliberately or completely by accident. Drinking near or in water can be dangerous and a deadly cocktail. Alcohol can seriously impede your ability to survive in water.

“At RLSS UK we work hard to inform and educate people of the dangers and advise the public to never go into water when you have been drinking and always take care and be aware if you are near water.

“When walking home from a night out, avoid routes that are alongside water, particularly in the darkness, and always stay with and look out for your friends.”

RLSS UK Ambassador, Jackie Roberts, lost her 20-year-old student daughter Megan after she fell into the River Ouse in York when walking home after a night out in January 2014.

She said: “Since losing Megan to drowning I have been actively involved in drowning prevention work with RLSS UK. I fully support the RLSS UK’s campaign, Don’t Drink and Drown and hope that the Don’t Drink and Drown messages will raise awareness about the dangers. Please watch and share the film as widely as you can – let’s avoid any more tragedies wherever possible.”

The charity Missing People is also supporting RLSS UK’s Don’t Drink and Drown campaign.

Ross Miller, Missing People Director of Communications, said: “People who go missing on a night out – most often men – are often found dead in water. This important campaign draws much needed attention to a preventable yet tragically frequent occurrence.

“Missing People is working with RLSS UK and other agencies this year to encourage people to get home safely after a night out. No family should experience this heartache.”

Di Steer added: “We would ask people to follow our advice to help ensure they do not become one of the statistics.

RLSS UK’s Top Tips:

  • When walking home – avoid routes that are alongside water particularly in the darkness – you might fall in
  • Look out for your friends, make sure they get home safely
  • Don’t enter the water if you have been drinking – alcohol seriously affects your ability to swim

To watch and share the RLSS UK Don’t Drink and Drown film visit RLSS UK YouTube channel.

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