The Water Safety Code
RNLI and Birmingham City Council Project
Water Safety Code RNLI – Birmingham
Facts on the need for Water Safety
Each year 400 people die from drowning. A quarter who die have alcohol in their system. Approximately, one person drowns every 20 hours. 80% of people who drown are male. 16-44 yr old males are the largest group of casualties. 60 % of drowning incidents occur in at inland water sites, mainly rivers and streams.
A number of young people have already lost their lives in 2018, drowning, as they have jumped in rivers, reservoirs or canals due to the rising temperatures and hot weather the UK has experienced. Normal body temperature is 37 degrees centigrade. Much of the water in the British Isles is 12 degrees centigrade. And obviously lower in winter. Cold water shock is devastating, leaving even the fittest, helpless. The body’s short term involuntary response to being suddenly immersed in cold water, means blood vessels close to the skin, close off. This leads to increased resistance to blood flow. The heart then has to work harder and blood pressure increases. At the same time the natural response to the immersion is to gasp, this means water is breathed in rather than air. Panic sets in and this makes a bad situation, ten times worse.
Rip currents are fast flowing bodies of water that can drag people and debris away from the shoreline into deeper water. They are a major cause of accidental drowning on beaches all across the world. 60% of RNLI lifeguard incidents involve rip currents.
Many people ignore warning signs that are posted in the form of flags on beaches or actual ‘non swimming’ signs for gravel pits and reservoirs. Additionally, many go into water without heeding the warning advice of wearing something to help them stay afloat.
The Water Safety Code
Each letter of the word SAFE details a specific instruction in relation to water activity.
S – Spot the dangers around water
A – Know were to find advice and heed it
F – Swim with family and friends, never alone
E – Know what to do or who to call in an Emergency
Recalling the instruction ahead of time can prepare, protect and safeguard lives. The Water Safety Code is being presented to all schools in Birmingham over the next few months and it is hoped that this will have the desired effect, to keep water fun and enjoyable but safe for all.
More information on the Water Safety Code can be found at
Details above from the RNLI Secondary and Primary School Presentations.
This video is also on YouTube on the Raphael Lionel Photo channel.