Whatever the emergency at sea or at the coast in the United Kingdom the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (commonly known as the HM Coastguard or MCA) will co-ordinate the incident and all the search and rescue (SAR) assets who are tasked.
Our team are again supporting the Royal Lifesaving Society (RLSS UK) Don’t Drink and Drown Campaign which takes place between 12th – 19th September. This is a national campaign that warns drinkers to steer clear of walking by or entering water when under the influence of alcohol. The campaign was launched following a string of tragic student drownings around the UK.
The campaign kicks off as first year students start their new University term known as Freshers Week. Many of whom will have never been away from home before, will be initially unfamilar with their surroundings and will enjoy socialising with their new University friends often drinking alcohol during nights out or at social functions. Unfortunately, there have been several fatalities over recent years including Charlie Pope a student in Manchester who very tragically died after falling into a Rochdale canal after a night out in March 2017.
Research indicates that around a quarter of all adult drowning victims had alcohol in their bloodstream.
In December 2018, our team undertook ‘Don’t Drink and Drown’ engagement evenings at Ramsgate and Margate harbours working in partnership with the Margate HM Coastguard team, Thanet Lifeguard Club and Thanet Community Pastors. Whereby we visited numerous bars around each respective harbour sharing the ‘Don’t Drink ad Drown’ safety tips (which can be found below) and handing out free ‘glow in the dark’ wrist bands.
The following top tips will help you get home safely
Don’t walk home alongside water after a night out
Make sure your mates get home safely after a night out, don’t let them walk by the water
Plan your journey home before you go out, book a cab inadvance
Paths by the water are not safe when you’re drunk, find a better route home
If you do end up in the water unexpectedly ‘float to live’
The RLSS Youtube video ‘Beneath the Surface – Families Stories’
What affect does alcohol have on the body?
Alcohol lowers inhibitions, leading to impaired judgment which means you are more likely to take risks and get into trouble
Alcohol limits muscle ability making simple movements much harder
Alcohol slows down your reactions making it more difficult to get yourself out of trouble
Alcohol numbs the senses particularly sight, sound and touch, making swimming very difficult
Mixing swimming and alcohol is definitely a bad idea!
There were 451 accidental drownings involving alcohol and/or drugs in the UK from 2013-2017, with an average of 90 per year. This represents 29% of all accidental drownings that occurred in the UK during this period.
Do you know someone who will be going away to University or College this year?
If you know a relative, friend or work colleague who will be going away to University this year please pass on the safety messages which are contained in this blog it just could help save their life.
Social Media & Newsletters
You can stay informed about our lifesaving activity by signing up for free to receive our newsletter. You my also like to follow our team on social media for updates.
It’s the start of the National Fire Chief’s Annual Drowning Prevention week today (Monday 29th April). The campaign week is designed to highlight the risk of accidental drowning. Drowning is unfortunately amongst the leading causes of accidental death in the UK. As part of our on-going water safety and drowning preventative role we are teaming up with Fire and Rescue Service’s across the UK to help share key safety messages and advice to help make people aware of the risks and dangers when around water, what to do if they fall into water; and how to help someone who is in difficulty in the water.
In 2017, 255 people accidentally drowned in UK; 100 people were found to have drugs or alcohol in their system. In 50% of these accidental deaths people weren’t even taking part in water-based activities Figures also reveal that 106 people drowned whilst out walking or running (source National Water Safety Forum). Men also account for the greatest number of deaths from accidental drowning.
Each day this week we will be sharing key drowning prevention advice. So, stay tuned for further posts on our social media channels using the #BeWaterAware. If you should hear or see a person or animal in difficulty in the water at the coast call ‘999’ ask for the Coastguard; if you are inland at a lake, river, canal or other area of water call ‘999’ ask for the Fire Service.
You couldn’t have failed to witness some of the extremely challenging weather conditions which have battered the UK in the past month. It was four years ago that I remember the last real bad weather to hit us at the coast. It just seemed to rain every day.
Storm Eleanor certainly caused havoc across the UK, resulting in storm force winds, torrential rain resulting in flooding for some unfortunate communities. I recently attended a flooding conference and learnt first hand the terrible devastation flooding brings to its victims.
Unfortunately, some video’s and photographs on social media show that some individuals are still intent on grabbing that favourite ‘selfie’ close to huge waves or fast incoming tides on beaches. Despite warnings from the Coastguard, RNLI, Police etc some still do it.
The Emergency Services, local authorities, NHS, Search & Rescue agencies, voluntary support organisations (Red Cross, St Johns Ambulance, 4×4 Rescue to name but a few) once again stepped up to the plate and deployed helping and supporting those effected in every way possible. I am always in awe of the support that all agencies and organisations provide to our communities in their hour of most need. Volunteers from a range of disparate groups give their time unreservedly at any hour of the day or night (quite often) when the call comes. These unselfish people will then go to work (often after a disturbed nights sleep) after returning from helping others and carry on with their own lives. Please spare a thought when you are tucked up in your nice, warm toasty bed (when the wind is howling outside, its lashing down with rain or its snowing heavily) that someone, somewhere will be woken by their pager or alerter and will leave without hesitation to help a complete stranger who’s in trouble and needs their help, putting themselves in danger.
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