Fears raised after an increase in drownings in last 12 months

Families are being urged to improve their water safety knowledge after figures showed fatalities in Tyne and Wear have nearly trebled in a year.

Saturday, 13th June 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 11:23 am
RNLI lifeguard patrols have been suspended during the lockdown.

As part of its Drowning Prevention Week – from June 12 to 19 – the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) is appealing for people to learn basic water safety and rescue skills, and build their confidence in, on and around the water.

The charity is fearful there could be a significant rise in drowning accidents and fatalities across the UK this summer when lockdown restrictions lift further, with lifeguard patrols currently postponed.

In 2019, 16 people were reported to have drowned in Tyne and Wear, a 167 per cent rise from 2018 when there were six fatalities.

RLSS UK CEO Robert Gofton said: “We are extremely concerned that this summer will see people rushing to jump into the water without proceeding with caution and understanding the potential life-threatening implications.

“Although amazing work has been done to reduce the number of accidental drownings across the UK and Ireland, this year has been unprecedented in so many ways. We have witnessed a recent increase in public euphoria and risk-taking behaviour.

“Tyne and Wear has a particularly high rate of drowning incidences and we urge as many people as possible to access our resources to learn how to stay safe.

“RLSS believes that the majority of drowning incidents can be prevented. By learning to recognise to the potential dangers, and becoming confident in how to respond to an emergency, you could save a life”

To access the resources visit www.rlss.org.uk/dpw