As much of the country continues to bask in warm weather, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has put together some safety tips for families who will be out and about by water this Easter.

Traditionally, the number of accidental drownings peaks during spells of warm weather, particularly when the warm conditions coincide with weekends or school holidays.

Inland waters, such as rivers, lakes, lochs, canals and reservoirs, are the most common locations for accidental drowning. In fact, figures from the National Water Safety Forum show that in 2009, 405 people died from accidents or natural causes in water across the UK, and, of these, more than half (213) died as a result of incidents in inland waters.

RoSPA believes that leisure should be “as safe as necessary, not as safe as possible”, and the accident prevention charity is keen that families get out and about to enjoy the outdoors this weekend. To enable them to have fun and stay safe, RoSPA has put together the following water safety tips:

  • Swimming at properly-supervised sites, such as beaches, lidos or swimming pools, is best, although RoSPA appreciates that not everyone can go to these locations
  • If you choose to go to an unsupervised site, think through the hazards first and ensure you know what to do if something goes wrong
  • Among the hazards to consider are that during this warm weather, water will be a lot colder than you are expecting so be careful if you jump in or go for a swim to cool off. Also, there may be strong currents and underwater debris that you cannot see from the bank
  • Consider how you are going to get out of the water once you are in it
  • Be honest about your swimming ability
  • Remember that alcohol and swimming never mix
  • Parents and carers: discuss the hazards with your children and remind them that children should never swim alone at unsupervised locations.

Peter Cornall, RoSPA’s head of leisure safety, said: “Because accidental drownings tend to peak during warm spells, we’re keen to highlight the danger that inland waters can pose for people who are not used to swimming there. This Easter weekend, we’re urging families to think through the hazards associated with inland waters and to make sure they know what to do if something goes wrong.”

See RoSPA’s Water Safety for Children and Young People factsheet for more safety tips and advice about rescuing someone who gets into difficulty in water.