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Drowning charity ‘concerned’ as Welsh accidental drowning rate more than double the UK average

WITH 28 accidental drownings in Wales in 2023, the UK’s leading drowning prevention charity has highlighted the UK nation as an area of concern.

In the last five years, data from the National Water Safety Forum shows there have been a total of 121 accidental drowning deaths in Wales. Recent figures show that Wales had a drowning rate of 8.94 per million people in 2023, more than double the UK National average of 3.49 per million.

With Wales reporting drowning rates well above the UK average, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) is urging residents and visitors alike to stay vigilant when in, on or around water in Wales this year. It’s reminding everyone to familiarise themselves with the Water Safety Code via its video animation as part of its annual Drowning Prevention Week campaign, taking place from 15-22 June 2024.

Targeted at young children and families, the national water safety education campaign aims to ensure as many people as possible are equipped with vital lifesaving knowledge that will keep them and their families safe in, on and around water.

Matt Croxall, Charity Director at RLSS UK, said, “The high drowning rates reported in Wales emphasise just how important it is that families are aware of the importance of water safety and have the correct knowledge to make the right decisions around water.

“With warmer summer days on the horizon, we will inevitably see people flock to open water sites across Wales, as well as taking opportunities to enjoy water at home in the garden. We want to ensure that everyone can enjoy water this summer, by having the knowledge to do so safely.”

“Bringing water safety to the forefront of everyone’s mind, Drowning Prevention Week equips people with the appropriate skills and knowledge to be summer ready when it comes to enjoying water safely during the summer months and beyond.”

During the 2023 campaign, RLSS UK materials and resources were used to educate over 1.85 million children in vital water safety knowledge and skills. 

Matt Croxall added: “For this year’s Drowning Prevention Week campaign, we are looking to educate even more young people on water safety, providing children with the skills to enjoy a lifetime of fun in the water.”

For Drowning Prevention Week, RLSS UK has a range of free new and updated educational resources available on its website in both Welsh and English, for children, including lesson plans for schools and downloadable resources for parents, as well as an engaging video animation to support families in learning the Water Safety Code.

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For more information around Drowning Prevention Week, please visit our website www.rlss.org.uk/dpw.

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Find your local RLSS UK affiliated club here: Find A Lifesaving Club | Royal Life Saving Society UK ( RLSS UK )