Although angling can seem like a harmless activity, the dangers that large bodies of water pose should always be considered before grabbing your line. Tragically we see a number of anglers lose their lives to drowning each year. So, when taking to the river banks you should keep in mind the following points:

Top 5 tips for anglers

  • Know how to perform CPR and learn some basic lifesaving skills
  • Always wear a floatation vest and nonslip shoes or boots.
  • When you arrive at your spot, take a moment to stop and think. Assess the area and choose a safe sport with good footing.
  • Take a mobile phone with, if you see somebody in trouble in the water, don't enter the water to rescue - call 999. Ask for the Fire and Rescue Service when inland and the Coastguard if at the coast. 
  • If you fall into the water.  Stay calm, float on your back and call for help​

Further tips

  • Flooded wellington boots or waders make it very difficult to move and can be a significant hazard. Do you need to wear them?
  • Be aware of local water hazards such as weirs, strong currents, slippery or undercut banks etc.
  • Always try to set up in a safe position with even ground
  • Have a throw line with you and get experience in how to use it
  • Know where you are located so that you can direct the emergency services to your area if you need to. what3words is an effective way to inform the emergency service of your location, especially if you are rural - To download the app click here. Remember to call 999 first

People often don’t realise the dangers that rivers and open water pose. We want people to enjoy themselves, but look out for their safety and the safety of others when around water. When angling you should always ensure that you wear a buoyancy aid if you can’t swim, be trained in CPR and have a throw line on hand which you know how to use. These simple changes could help prevent drowning and keep you and others safe. The RLSS UK offers a fantastic National Water Safety Management Programme, making people aware of the dangers around large bodies of water and teaching them how to react in an emergency.

The Water Accident and Incident database (WAID) statistics revealed that in 2014:

  • 14 anglers died from drowning
  • 9 died from angling in the ocean and 5 from angling inland
  • 40 per cent of people who drown never meant to end up in the water
  • Around 400 people died from accidental drowning in the UK every year


If you want to learn how to stay safe near water when angling, take a look at The Royal Life Saving Society UK’s National Water Safety Management Programme.