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Water Safety Code

During the school holidays, and in particular in hot weather, increasing numbers of children put themselves at risk of drowning. On average 40-50 children drown per year in the UK.

To keep yourself safe, when you are in, on or beside water, always follow the Water Safety Code.

  1. Spot the dangers

    Water may look safe, but it can be dangerous. Learn to spot and keep away from dangers. You may swim well in a warm indoor pool, but that does not mean that you will be able to swim in cold water.

    The dangers of water include:
    • Very cold temperatures
    • Hidden Currents
    • Fast flowing water, beware of locks and weirs
    • Deep water, it can be difficult to estimate the depth
    • There may be hidden rubbish or debris under the surface that can trap, snag or cut
    • It can be difficult to get out, banks can be steep, slimy and crumble away
    • No lifeguards, most outdoors waterways do not have lifeguards
    • Water pollution may make you ill
  2. Take Safety Advice

    Where possible you should swim at a swimming pool or beach where a lifeguard is present. When this is not possible look out for special flags, on beaches, and notices, on inland waterways, which will tell you what to do. You can find a guide to Water Safety Flags (used on beaches) and Water Safety Signs (other waterways) on the pages below.
  1. Go Together

    Never go swimming, fishing or boating alone.

    Children should always go with an adult, not by themselves. An adult can point out dangers or help if somebody gets into trouble.
  2. Learn How To Help

    If you see someone in difficulty, tell somebody:
    • A lifeguard if there is one nearby
    • Go to the nearest telephone and dial 999. If you are at the beach ask for the coastguard, otherwise ask for the Police.

Never jump into the water yourself

Some material kindly provided by RoSPA the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

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