Drowning Prevention Week – How You Can Help

Around 400 UK and Irish citizens lose their lives each year through drowning. Many of those deaths are preventable.

This week (18 to 25 June 2022) is Drowning Prevention Week (DPW), an annual campaign created by the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) nine years ago with the aim to give people the resources and skills they need to enjoy water safely. The outdoor swimming community can help by sharing the RLSS’s messaging.

The RLSS says DPW is particularly important this year due to thousands of children having missed out on school swimming and water safety education due to covid. Lee Heard, Charity Director at RLSS UK says there has been a rise in the number of drownings in recent years and that in July 2021, 49 people lost their lives through drowning over a two-week period.

Water safety advice is not just essential for people on or in the water as 40% of people who drown had no intention of being in the water. The RLSS therefore wants everyone to know what to do if they find themselves in difficulty in the water.

Free resources are available through the RLSS website for schools, leisure centres and parents – see links below – and remember the Water Safety Code.

Water Safety Code

  • Whenever you are around water you should stop and think to assess your surroundings and look for any dangers
  • Stay together when around water and always go with family and friends
  • In an emergency call 999 and ask for the Fire and Rescue service when inland and the Coastguard if at the coast
  • Finally, float to live. If you fall in or become tired, stay calm, float on your back and call for help, or if you see someone in the water, throw something that floats to them and resist the temptation to go in.


Water Safety Education resources – see:

Donate or Fundraise – see:

Water safety facts from the RLSS

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I created Outdoor Swimmer in 2011 (initially as H2Open Magazine) as an outlet for my passion for swimming outdoors. I've been a swimmer and outdoor swimmer for as long as I remember. Swimming has made a huge difference to my life and I want to share its joys and benefits with as many people as possible. I am also the author of Swim Wild & Free: A Practical Guide to Swimming Outdoors 365 a Year and I provide one-to-one support to swimmers through Swim Mentoring.