Going Away To University or College – Are You ‘Don’t Drink and Drown Aware?

University Freshers – Are you ‘Don’t Drink and Drown Aware?’

Going away to University or College can be one of the most exciting and challenging milestone’s in one’s lifetime.  What with the experience of meeting lots of new people, getting to grips with studying at a higher level, coping with living away from home for the first time, exploring a new city or town, organising your own worklife balance without help from a parent or guardian and looking after yourself.  All of these can bring there own challenges to overcome.

dontdrinkanddrown lockdown covid-19 thanetlifeguards margatelifeboat margatecoastguard RLSS

Many freshers will be initially unfamilar with their surroundings and will enjoy socialising with their new group of friends, often drinking alcohol during nights out or at social functions.  Unfortunately, there have been anumber of 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 2017.

The RLSS (Royal Lifesaving Society) initiated a campaign called ‘Don’t Drink and Drown’ as a result of students deaths around the country.  The RLSS video below ‘Beneath the Surface’ – the familties stories helps publicise this vital campaign:

The following safety advice will help get you home safely:

  • Don’t walk home alone past open water after a night out
  • Make sure your mates get home safely after a night out, don’t let them walk by open water
  • Plan your journey home before you go out, book a cab inadvance
  • Paths beside open water are not safe when you are drunk, find a better route home
  • If you do end up in the water unexpectedly ‘float on your back’ until you get your breath
  • If you see or hear someone in difficulty in the water DON’T ENTER THE WATER dial ‘999’ immediately ask for the Fire Service (if inland canal, river, lake, canal, quarry) or at the Coast – Coastguard
  • If it is safe to do so throw the casualty a lifebuoy keeping observation on them at all or use other safety equipment eg emergency throw line or use a reach rescue pole which maybe stored in a secure container on the shoreside.   If you cannot locate any of this equipment anything that will float


Research indicates that a quarter of all adult drowning victims had alcohol in their bloodstream.  There were 451 accidental drownings alcohol and or drugs in the UK between 2013-2017, with an average of 90 per year.  This represents 29% of all drownings that occurred in the UK during this period.

RLSS Respectthewater bewateraware Margate Broadstairs Ramsgate
The Thanet multi-agency Don’t Drink & Drown campaign team 2018 – Coco Latino’s Ramsgate Harbour

What affect does alcohol have on your body?

  • Alcohol lowers inhabitions, leading to impaired judgement which means that 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 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!


Do you know someone who is going/gone to University or College this year?

If you have a relative, friend or work colleague who will going away to University or College this year please pass on the safety messages which are contained in this blog it just could help save their life! Thank you inadvance for sharing.

matesmatter RNLI dontdrinkandddrown RLSS Avonfireandrescueservice

Other useful links

RLSS (Royal Lifesaving Society) Don’t Drink and Drown campaign

Thanet RNLI Supporting the Don’t Drink and Drown campaign

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