East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is reminding us of the importance of water safety this Drowning Prevention Week (18 – 26 June).
The week is organised by the charity Royal Life Saving Society, which says around 400 people needlessly drown in the UK every year and thousands more suffer injury, some life changing, through near-drowning experiences. Putting this into context, one person dies every day in the UK. Drowning is also the third highest cause of accidental death of children in the UK.
With the beaches along the coast expected to become busier as the summer approaches, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is highlighting advice on how to stay safe when enjoying the seaside.
Top 10 beach safety tips
• Seek advice from your travel agent when booking a holiday to ask if the beach is safe and whether trained lifeguards will be on duty
• Be aware that the most common time for children to have accidents on holiday is within the first hour of a holiday when parents are unpacking and distracted. Parents should take care during this time to make sure that they know where their children are
• When you have unpacked, visit the beach and look for yourself what the potential dangers are before going into the sea
• While at the beach, never let your young children out of your reach –supervision is the key to preventing serious accidents
• Always ask for local advice, for example from lifeguards, tourist information offices, local coastguard stations, or even local fishermen, on where and when it is not safe to stroll on the beach or enter the water
• Do not swim near or dive from rocks, piers, breakwater and coral
• Water safety signage can be very different in different countries, so find out what local warning flags and signs mean – and adhere to them
• Inflatable dinghies or lilos are a well-known hazard – there have been drownings as people on inflatables are blown out to sea and get into trouble. Do not use them in open water. Use them in sheltered and confined spaces, such as rock pools
• If you get stuck in quicksand or mud do not stand up. Lie down, spread your weight, shout for help and move slowly in a breaststroke action towards the shore
• If you witness an emergency, whether it is in the UK or overseas, know how to call for help