More than 62 British Nationals drowned abroad in 2022.

Whether holidaying abroad, or at home in the UK and Ireland, follow these basic principles to help ensure your family stays safe whilst having fun in, on or around water.

Stop and Think

Stop and Think

When visiting new places, take time to review safety notices.  Find out what local signs and flags mean. 

Always look out for potential hazards and warn members of your group to avoid possible risks.

Never use inflatables in open water – although they look fun, inflatable water toys can quickly get caught in the wind and be blown out to sea.

Take extra care when intoxicated around water and never enter the water whilst under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Stay Together

Stay Together

Always keep children under the constant supervision of a capable adult.and keep small children within arm’s reach. 83% of child drownings occur in the absence of adult supervision.*

Always choose to visit a lifeguarded venue wherever possible.

Swim with others.  It’s safer to swim in pairs or groups who can help should anyone get into trouble in the water.

Be sure children know where to go if they become lost or separated from the group.

*Source: National Child Mortality Database (NCMD) Deaths of children and young people due to traumatic incidents, July 2023

In an emergency

Call 999

Call 999 in the UK or 112 if abroad

Be sure everyone in your group knows who to call in the event of an emergency.  If you are abroad, be sure you know the correct number to call.


If in trouble in the water, float

If you fall into the water or become tired - stay calm, float on your back and call for help.

Throw something that floats to somebody that has fallen in.

Make sure the whole family knows basic water safety and what to do if they find themselves in the water unexpectedly. You can access FREE RLSS UK resources to help.

Resources for Parents

Watch our Water Safety on Holiday videos on YouTube

Visit the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)'s Travel Aware page

Travel Aware Logo

You can also follow the FCDO’s most up-to-date advice on each country to help keep you safe whilst overseas. 

Foreign Travel Advice