During the school holidays, and in particular in hot weather, increasing numbers of children put themselves at risk of drowning.
To keep yourself safe, when you are in, on or beside water, always follow the Water Safety Code.
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
It can be deep
It is difficult to estimate depth
There may be hidden rubbish like shopping trolleys or broken glass
It can be difficult to get out (steep slimy banks)
Water pollution may make you ill
Special flags and notices may warn you of danger. Know what the signs mean and do what they tell you. Further information can be found by following the useful links at the bottom of the page.
Children should always go with an adult, not by themselves. An adult can point out dangers or help if someone gets in trouble.
You may be able to help yourself and others if you know what to do in an emergency. If you see someone in difficulty, tell someone, preferably a Lifeguard if there is one nearby, or go to the nearest telephone, dial 999, ask for the Police at inland water sites and the Coastguard at the beach.
Rescuing a drowning person is the last resort and you should do everything possible to avoid getting into a dangerous situation in the first place. If you have to make a rescue attempt, think of your own safety first and never put yourself in danger. If the rescue is too dangerous, wait until the emergency services arrive.
The first thing you must do if you see someone in trouble in the water is to shout for help; send someone to ring 999.
With a long stick, a scarf, clothes or anything else. Crouch or lie down to avoid being pulled in.
Test the depth with a long stick before wading in and then use the stick to reach out. Hold on to someone else on the bank.
A rope is best - you can then pull in the person. Otherwise throw something that will float - a ball, a plastic bottle, a lifebuoy; this will keep the person afloat until help arrives.
Use a boat if there is one nearby and if you can use it safely. Do not try to pull the person on board in case they panic and capsize the boat.
Keep the casualty warm and make sure they get medical help.