Word on Health

Word On Water Safety

We are grateful to the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) for their input to our 'on-air' report and for the use of the support information below. To find out more about the RLSS, their work and lifesaving classes for children and adults visit www.rlss.org.uk.

Always follow the water safety code:

  • Look for the dangers - Always read the signs.
  • Stay together - Never swim alone
  • Whenever you are around water:
  • STOP and think
  • Shout for help and phone 999 or 112.


  • If you fall in, float or swim on your
  • back. Throw something that
  • floats to anyone who has fallen in.
  • Never swim alone.

As we heard to help keep your family SAFE


  • Check for hazards such as tides or currents 
  • Consider what could be hidden under the water
  • Be careful of unsafe banks, stay well back from the edge


  • Always read the signs
  • Only swim where there is a lifeguard
  • Wear buoyancy aids and life jackets 


  • Swim with your friends and family
  • Friends can get help
  • Never swim alone


  • Find the nearest phone and call 999 or 112 
  • Shout loudly to attract attention
  • Never enter the water to save someone

Water safety tips at inland water sites 

More people drown in inland waters than coastal or at sea e.g. in rivers, canals, lakes, lochs, reservoirs and ponds, so:

  1. Swim at lifeguarded lakes.
  2. When around water, stay back from the edge. At least 22% of people who drown fall into the water by accident (e.g. whilst out fishing, running or walking).
  3. Remember that lakes and rivers remain cold all year round (warm shallow areas just a few metres from the shore can be misleading about the temperatures further out).
  4. Always wear a buoyancy aid or lifejacket for activities on the water or at the water’s edge (such as when boating or fishing).
  5. Never enter the water after consuming alcohol.

Water safety tips at the swimming pool

More UK children die in pools while abroad on holiday than in pools in the UK. Make sure you and others are safe in swimming pools in the UK and overseas.

  1. Only swim at lifeguarded pools.
  2. Keep young children under constant supervision.
  3. Follow the pool rules (don’t dive into the shallow end).
  4. Take time to check the depth, water flow and layout of the pool, especially at leisure pools and holiday resorts.
  5. Never enter the water after drinking alcohol.

Water safety tips on holiday

The majority of holiday accidents occur in the first hour of arriving at a resort when parents are distracted. More UK children die in pools whilst abroad on holiday than in pools in the UK. Enjoy your holiday in safety by using this simple checklist:

  1. When researching your holiday, check the safety arrangements for any waterbased activities.
  2. When booking your holiday, check if the local pool/beach has lifeguard cover. Not all water sites have supervision at all times.
  3. Check bathing sites for hazards, check the safest places to swim and always read the signs. Water safety signage can be different to that seen in the UK -find out what local warning flags and signs mean.
  4. Make sure your children can swim. You can often book lessons at your holiday destination.
  5. Swim with any children in your care. It’s more fun and you can keep them close and safe.

Water safety tips at the beach

  1. Only swim at lifeguarded beaches.
  2. Read safety signs at the entrance to the beach.
  3. Learn the meanings of the lifeguard flags.
  4. Check when the tide will be low and high, and make sure that you won’t be cut off from the beach exit by the rising tide.
  5. Never enter the water after drinking alcohol.

Water safety tips at home

Did you know that people can drown in as little as 2cm of water? The numbers of drownings that occur around the home are low compared to those at other locations. However, drownings around the home are also the most easily preventable. Here’s how:

  1. Always use self-closing gates, fences and locks to prevent children from gaining access to pools of water.
  2. Securely cover all water storage tanks and drains.
  3. Empty paddling pools and buckets as soon as they have been used. Always turn paddling pools upside down once empty.
  4. Always supervise bath time -never leave children unattended. Empty the bath as soon as possible after use.
  5. Vulnerable adults and people who suffer from sudden seizures should consider using showers rather than baths.

All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.