UK’s drowning prevention charity comments on latest figures.  

The latest figures on UK drownings have shown an encouraging decrease, says the Royal Life Saving Society UK – the UK’s Drowning Prevention Charity – but one more drowning is still one too many, it warns.

The Water Accident and Incident database (WAID) statistics revealed this week that 338 people lost their lives to drowning in 2014, falling from 381 in 2013 and is the lowest figure since records began in 1983.

However, drowning is preventable and the charity says there is still much work to be done to educate and save lives.

RLSS UK’s Chief Executive, Di Steer, said: “Although it is encouraging that the numbers of accidental water related deaths has reduced – our aim as a charity is to see a year-on-year reduction in drownings –this figure is still, tragically, too high.

“We must still continue to educate people in water safety and work tirelessly to equip people with the skills to know how to save a life, whether it be their own, or someone else’s, in an emergency.

“We will continue to commit to ensure everyone of all ages can enjoy water safely but know the dangers and act accordingly.”

Those people who never intended to be in the water in the first place, mainly people running or walking near water, were again in 2014 the highest group to lose their lives to drowning, with 138 deaths recorded. The proportion of this group has increased to 40 per cent of all those people that drowned, up from 33 per cent in 2013.

“This figure is extremely concerning and often comes as a surprise to people, as those concerned never expected to end up in the water. We will continue to focus our efforts on ensuring our messages are targeted accordingly and will run our Runners and Walkers campaign again next year to raise awareness and hopefully save even more lives,” Di added.

The next leading cause of drowning, 36 people, were those who drowned while swimming in unsupervised places.

This issue was only this week highlighted when two men lost their lives while swimming in a waterfall at a beauty spot in North Wales. Two further men were taken to hospital but later discharged.

Di added: “The figures shows the importance of ALWAYS swimming in lifeguarded sites, whether in open water, on the beach or in the pool.”

Men once again are the highest proportion of victims with nearly 80 per cent of those who died from drowning being male.

“Again men are at highest risk of drowning,” Di said.

“But, not only many of our campaigns and messages aim at reaching men, particularly young men, we believe that all of our work to educate all primary and secondary school-aged children, as well as offering lifesaving awards to all ages, goes a long way to ensuring we educate children before it’s too late.”