Today’s post is a timely guest contribution from The Royal Life Saving Society UK.
It’s even more appropriate to us, as on Wednesday Barry slipped off the gunnels on the side of our boat, dropping down to the depths of the canal. He was moving Areandare from Alrewas to Whittington, and had the boat nosed up to a lock while boating alone. Fortunately he hadn’t been drinking, and managed to easily haul himself out of the canal onto the bank, back on the boat, strip off on the stern (thank goodness at that point no-one was around!), get a hot shower and continue.
Getting out of the cold, dark, murky, canal at anytime is a challenge, but doing so after consuming copious quantities of alcohol is nigh on impossible.
The number of alcohol related drownings rose a staggering 41% in 2017, prompting drowning prevention charity the Royal LSS UK to step up its efforts to warn revellers to take care near water whilst under the influence of alcohol.
Dozens of people tragically die each year because they’ve entered the water with alcohol in their bloodstream, either deliberately or completely by accident. Drinking near or in water can be a dangerous and deadly cocktail, and alcohol can seriously impede your ability to survive in water.
Over the last five years there have been 1,581 accidental deaths in the UK, and almost 30% of the victims (346) had alcohol in their bloodstream. In 2017 alone there were 75 alcohol related drownings recorded, compared to 53 the previous year.
The Don’t Drink and Drown campaign was launched in 2014, following a string of tragic drownings of young people. Research indicated that around a quarter of all adult drowning victims had alcohol in their bloodstream. RLSS UK was keen to prevent more tragedies, by targeting at risk groups in hot spot areas at particular points in the year where alcohol related drowning incidences increase – September (at the start of the new university term) and December (during the festive period).
RLSS UK wants everyone to have a great time this Christmas, and through the Don’t Drink and Drown campaign, the charity aims to give essential advice to party-goers to make sure they know how to stay safe when they’re out celebrating.
When walking home from a night out, avoid routes that are alongside water, particularly in the darkness, and always stay with and look out for your friends.
Stay Safe this Christmas:
Don’t walk home near water, you might fall in
Look out for your friends, make sure they get home safely
Don’t enter the water if you have been drinking
Alcohol seriously affects your ability to get yourself out of trouble
Across the regions, organisations join forces with RLSS UK to hammer out the water safety messages, including a wide range of fire and rescue services, police, local authorities, bars and businesses across the UK, as well as the Canal and River Trust, RNLI and the Environment Agency.
As part of the campaign volunteers host stalls at busy shopping areas and walk the queues at popular waterfront establishments, talking to people about the dangers of walking home near water after a night out drinking. Bars, nightclubs and universities display posters, beermats and other resources with water safety messaging, and throwline training is given to door staff.
For more information on RLSS UK’s Don’t Drink and Drown campaign:
Visit our website at www.rlss.org.uk
Follow us on Twitter – @RLSSUK
Visit our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/RLSSUK
Join our LinkedIn page – @rlssuk
Call – 0300 323 0096
Keep safe everyone, and have a very Merry Christmas. Don’t count your days – make EVERY day count.
We’ll ‘see’ you in the New Year.