Drowning Prevention – Staying safe in and around UK waterways.

With staycations becoming the new normal in the UK during the pandemic, we have been concerned by the number of families and young people in British rivers, lakes, canals, and other waterways that are not designed for use by the public in this way.

We are regularly now seeing news reports of families who have lost loved ones due to underestimating these waterways, or accidents, such as going in to a river to collect a football.


The Royal Life Saving Society has put together a video that is well worth watching, to highlight the realities to those impacted by losing loved ones from drowning.

What to do if you get into difficulty in the water!

What to do if someone is drowning.

Your safety is the most important thing. Lots of stories where multiple people have drowned, are down to friends going in to try and rescue someone, and get in to difficulty themselves. Do not enter the water if it is not safe.

Use buoyancy aids around the waterway, or improvise with something you can use to reach the person, such as a jacket, long stick, or rope.

People when panicking can become very strong and push any lifesaver down in the water, as they climb to try and save themselves. As a qualified lifeguard for 10 years, we were taught to deal with these situations. This is why we recommend using buoyancy aids for the person to grab on to, rather than trying to get to them, yourself.

What to do if someone has drowned.

first aid training

If it is safe, pull the casualty to a location where CPR can be carried out. Carry out a Primary Survey, and call for help.

These topics are all taught on one of our first aid courses.

You can also learn about these right now, and for free via our First Aid Appointed Persons course.

Giving Breaths

During a drowning event, it is crucial to give the casualty breaths. This is not an easy technique, and water in the airway can make this challenging.

Remember: If doing this on a stranger, we would recommend using a face sheild / pocket mask. These can be found in most first aid kits, and with all Public Access defibrillators.

Rescue breaths


The 999 call handler will tell you to give the casualty who is unresponsive and not breathing, chest compressions. This can help remove water from the airway, alowing effective breaths to be given.

Learn more about first aid

It is not possible to learn CPR via a platform such as this. We strongly recommend booking a course with us, and we offer courses for you and your family in your own home. Contact us today for a quote.

Online Free first Aid Training Basics

Carry out our free first aid online course here.