As the weather gets warmer and more time to hand it is tempting to explore our waterways, please have a think of the following advice first:

Stop and think – spot the dangers

On average, around 400 people drown in the UK each year. Often, we underestimate just how dangerous the water can really be. Whether it be a lake, ocean, or swimming pool, being in any body of water poses a range of risks.

Drowning, in its essence, is when too much water gets into the lungs, which then prevents oxygen from getting to the blood. This, in turn, means that there is a lack of oxygen getting to the brain and the rest of the body. Another scary thing about drowning is how quickly it can happen. In fact. It can take less than 2 minutes after a person is submerged underwater for them to completely drown.

What are some dangers in water?

There may be hidden debris or underwater hazards which can cause injury, including weeds and plants which can entangle people under the water.

There are many dangers with water, which can include:

  • It can be very cold
  • There may be hidden currents
  • It can be difficult to get out (steep slippery banks)
  • It can be deep
  • There may be hidden rubbish, e.g. shopping trolleys, broken glass
  • There may be no lifeguards there
  • It is difficult to estimate depth
  • It may be polluted and may make you ill
  • It is always better to go to the water with a friend or family member
  • Children should always go near water with an adult
  • An adult can point out dangers or help if somebody gets into trouble.


If you fall into the water unexpectedly – float until you can control your breathing. Then call for help or swim to safety.

5 steps to know how to float

  • If you’re struggling in the water. fight the urge to thrash around.
  • Lean back. extend your arms and legs.
  • Gently move them around. to help you float if you need to.
  • Float. until you can control your breathing.
  • Only then, call 999 or swim to safety.

Call 999

You may be able to help yourself and others if you know what to do in an emergency.

If you see someone in difficulty, tell somebody, preferably a Lifeguard if there is one nearby, or go to the nearest telephone, dial 999, ask for the Fire Service at inland water sites and the Coastguard at the beach.

Further information & resources:

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution

The Royal Life Saving Society