Councils, as community leaders, play a vital role in tackling water safety in their area. Landowners as well as wider responsibilities. The LGA has produced a water safety toolkit for councils, to ensure both locals and visitors enjoy the natural environment safely whether on the coast or inland.
Overall deaths from accidental drowning have fallen in the last four years. However, in 2020, 254 people lost their lives in accidental drownings in the UK, with hundreds more having near drowning experiences, sometimes suffering life-changing injuries. Children can be particularly at risk.
Strikingly a large proportion of victims did not leave home on the day they died intending to go into water of significant depth. In 2020 nearly twice as many deaths happened whilst people were out walking, running or cycling compared to those who died whilst swimming which shows the importance of everyone being aware of the risks posed by water. Sadly, there has also been a rise in the number of suicides in water over the past few years.
There is clearly more that needs to be done to tackle water safety and this toolkit suggests a number of ways councils might seek to work in partnership to tackle water safety in their area.
The toolkit provides an overview of the steps councils should consider when looking at water safety in their local area. It draws on the Royal Life Saving Society’s (RLSS) work on creating a water safety action group and local water safety plan which also provides a useful practical guide.