As the RNLI steps up its Respect the Water campaign research has revealed that more than 160 people died on the UK coast last year – with 33 people drowning in the South West.
Coastal fatality figures released by the RNLI today also show that nearly a quarter (24%) of the South West coast deaths were people who did not intend to enter the water.
The lifesaving charity is now calling on the public to fight their instincts to gasp uncontrollably and swim hard if they fell unexpectedly into water and remember one simple skill – floating – that could save lives from drowning.
“The RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards saved hundreds of people from near-fatal incidents in 2016 and rescued thousands more but, sadly, they aren’t able to reach everyone,” said the charity’s safety partner for the South West, Steve Instance.
“If people in danger in the water can help themselves initially by floating and regaining control of their breathing, they stand a much greater chance of surviving.
“We’re asking the public to remember this lifesaving advice, share with others and practice the survival skill of floating – it could be the difference between life and death.
“For those who are planning to go into the water, the best way to stay safe is to choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, which is the area most closely monitored by the lifeguards. And if you see someone else in danger in the water, fight your instinct to go in and try to rescue them yourself – instead call 999 and ask for the coastguard.”
The Bruynius family’s life changed forever after last year’s Newquay sea tragedy.
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