Football lovers travelling to Brazil are being urged to take care by the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), the drowning prevention charity.

With just seven days before the tournament kicks off, the charity has warned supporters that a cocktail of alcohol, football fever and water doesn’t mix.

And with an average of 75 UK citizens drowning on holiday each year, the RLSS UK’s Director of Lifesaving, Adrian Lole, doesn’t want to see an increase to the already tragic figure as thousands of fans spend time in South America.

He said: “We obviously want as many people as possible to enjoy the World Cup, at home and in Brazil, but do not want to see someone’s football trip of a lifetime turn into tragedy.

“A combination of the atmosphere, fantastic weather and possibly alcohol, mixed with poor knowledge of the area and its waters – or even swimming pools – could lead to even the strongest swimmer losing their life.”

Being aware of the basic principles of open water safety, combined with knowledge and understanding of the hazards, can increase enjoyment if enjoyed in a safe environment and without having consumed any alcohol.

Adrian added: “The majority of stadiums are along the coast and we simply want people to take note of key safety messages for them, their families and their friends.

“We would positively encourage enjoying the water safety in between matches and, of course, the matches themselves – but please don’t be tempted to cool off after drinking or at un-lifeguarded sites.”

Top ten World Cup water safety tips –

  • Never swim in open water if under the influence of drink or drugs
  • Only swim in open water where lifeguards are present or special provision is made
  • Know what to do if someone gets into trouble in the water (see below)
  • Supervise children closely – swim with them
  • Take notice of warning signs and beach flags
  • Always stay with a mate
  • Follow the pool rules
  • On beaches, check when the tide will be high and low and make sure that you won’t be cut off from the beach exit by the rising tide
  • Inflatable dinghies or lilos are a well-known hazard – each year there are drownings as people on inflatables are blown out to sea. Do not use them in open water
  • If swimming in open water, be aware of underwater hazards, currents, uneven depths and water temperatures – all of these could pose a threat to swimmers

If someone is in difficulty in the water –

  • Shout reassurance to them and shout for help and ensure the emergency services are on their way – also send someone to find a lifeguard
  • Without endangering yourself, see if you can reach out to them, extend your reach with a stick, pole, item of clothing, lie down or stay secure. Alternatively throw something buoyant to them such as a ring buoy, part filled plastic container, ball or anything that will float.
  • Keep your eye on them all the time and shout reassurance urging them to propel themselves to safety