Falling in the water

Give yourself a floating chance.

If you're in trouble in cold water:

  • Fight your instinct to thrash around
  • Lean back, extend your arms and legs
  • If you need to, gently move your arms and legs to help you float
  • Float until you can control your breathing
  • Only then call for help or swim to safety

Respect the water

The RNLI is running a Respect the Water national drowning prevention campaign this summer. It highlights the risks and gives advice on how to keep safe.

Current drowning figures show a clear gender divide, with men accounting for over two-thirds of those who die – particularly those aged between 16 and 39 who are more likely to take risks.

Cold water shock can have fatal consequences and it is triggered in water which is cooler than 15°. The average temperature of UK waters is 12°. So even in the summer the water temperature is cold enough to steal the air from your lungs and leave you helpless in seconds.

Respect the Water focuses on simple skills that could save a life:

  • If you find yourself unexpectedly in the water do as little as possible and float to increase your chances of survival.
  • Call 999

The more people who are aware of this advice, the more change everyone has of staying alive.

To find out more go to: Respect the Water

Rescuing a drowning person is the last report and you should do everything possible to avoid getting into a dangerous situation in the first place. If you have to make a rescue attempt think of your own safety first and never put yourself in danger. If the rescue is too dangerous wait until the emergency services arrive.

Getting help

  • The first thing you must do if you see someone in trouble is to shout for help – send someone to ring 999.
  • Throw something that will float – a ball, plastic bottle or lifebuoy
  • Reach with a long stick, clothes or anything else. Crouch or lie down to avoid being pulled in
  • Keep the casualty warm and make sure they get medical help.

Non Emergency Directory (NED)

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