The number of accidental drownings in the UK has fallen to its lowest level since records began.
There were a total of 338 water-related deaths from accidents or natural causes across the UK in 2014, according to a report published by the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF).
That number has fallen from 381 in 2013 and is the lowest figure since data collection began in 1983. Of those, 13 deaths occurred in swimming pools.
The statistics follow a report in the June issue of Pool & Spa Scene on calls for increased safety precautions around domestic swimming pools, following the death of a three-year-old boy.
George Rawlinson, chairman of the NWSF, said: “It’s really positive that we’re starting to see a decline in the numbers of accidental drownings but any loss of life is tragic and there’s more that we can do to reduce these figures further. WAID provides vital insight that helps interested groups shape interventions to protect those people most at risk.”
The NWSF’s Water Incident Database (WAID) breaks down drownings and other water-related deaths by activity, age and location type. The highest proportion of those people who have lost their lives in 2014 did not intend to be in the water – the main activity being undertaken before they died was walking or running alongside water with 138 deaths in rivers and coastal water, while 36 people drowned while swimming in unsupervised places, the next leading cause. July saw the biggest spike in the number of deaths (43, up from 20 in June and 29 in August), while January was also a problem month, with 38 people killed.
George adds: “The NWSF and their respective organisations work tirelessly to promote education and water safety and together are now developing a strategy that could be adopted nationally; this will provide an important framework for identifying how improvements in safety and education could be made to tackle this problem.”