As a rugby player, I train to be as strong as I can be. But I know from experience, that even I’m no match for the strength of the water. This campaign isn’t about telling people not to go into the water – in fact, quite the opposite. The sea is a great place to have fun and relax in the summer. This is about being smart and safe when you are there. The water is the opponent that never tires, so make sure you’re never put to the test
Some 190 people die at the coast each year. Respect the Water is the RNLI’s national drowning prevention campaign, targeted at adult men.
The campaign is launching nationally again for his year, using coastal fatality data to demonstrate the issue and the need for the campaign.
The Aim of the Campaign
We want coast-users, particularly adult men, to know that coastal drowning is a key cause of death and that anyone visiting the coast could be at risk, not just those participating in adrenaline sports.
We want them to acknowledge the risks and adopt safer behaviour at the coast.
The specific target audience is men aged 20 to 64, although the messages will be relevant for anyone who uses/visits the coast.
Respect the Water: 190 people die at the coast each year. Don’t under-estimate the power of the sea.
More people die at the coast each year than are killed in cycling accidents.
Men account for over two-thirds of coastal deaths.
Alcohol is a contributing factor in around one-fifth of coastal deaths.
Most accidents happen during seemingly safe activities like swimming or walking.
It’s not just water-based activities putting people in danger – slips and falls are a common issue.
Cold water shock is a significant danger – the UK sea temperature is cold enough year-round to trigger cold water shock.
One cubic metre of water weighs a tonne – water never tires but people do.
The RNLI is aiming to halve accidental UK coastal deaths by 2024.
- For the facts see rnli.org/respectthewater.
Watch James in the video at the bottom of this page, and see how long he can battle against a punchbag filled with ¼ of a tonne of water. The punchbag emphasises the point that water is the unbeatable opponent - water never tires but people do.
- Cold water shock can affect you in any temperature below 15 degrees
- The average sea temperature in the UK is just 12 degrees
- Cold water shock causes uncontrollable gasping, which draws water into your lungs and can lead to drowning.
- Cold water shock makes it hard to swim.
- Even if the air temperature is warm, the water is still cold. Acclimatise in shallow water.
- Water is the unbeatable opponent – one cubic metre of water weighs a tonne and it never tires, but people do.
- The sea is very different to a pool – even the strongest swimmers can tire quickly in the sea.
- Never swim alone, don’t over-estimate your ability or swim too far out of your depth.
- Alcohol contributed to one-fifth of coastal deaths in 2013.
- Alcohol impairs your judgement, reactions and ability to swim – never go in the water after drinking.
- Slips, trips and falls are a major issue – walking and running accounted for 32% of last year’s coastal deaths.
- At the coast, stay away from cliff edges, stick to marked pathways and read safety signage.
- A rip is a strong current of water that can quickly drag you out to sea.
- A rip can travel at 4.5mph – that’s almost the same speed as an Olympic swimmer.
- Rips can be very difficult to spot. They can sometimes be identified by a channel of churning, choppy water or debris on the sea’s surface.
- If you get caught in a rip: don’t try to swim against it or you’ll get exhausted; if you can stand, wade, don’t swim; if you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore; raise your hand and shout for help.