Members of the RNLI Thanet Community Safety Team are targeting people in Margate and Ramsgate bars with water safety messages after it was revealed that 54 Kent people accidentally drowned in the last five years and 15 of those (28%) were found to have had alcohol in their system.
The figures mean Kent has the second highest number of alcohol related drownings in the UK. Over the last five years there have been 1,581 accidental deaths in the UK and almost 30% of the victims had alcohol in their bloodstream.
The RNLI safety team, supported by RNLI, Kent Search and Rescue Service, Margate HM Coastguard, the RLSS UK and the Street Pastor Team from the New Generation Church, have been taking to the streets this week (December 3-10) i Thanet and Maidstone as part of the national Don’t Drink and Drown campaign, run by the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK).
Hannah Wiggnis-Bettles, RLSS UK Community Drowning Prevention Coordinator for the Kent area, said: “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. Alcohol can seriously impede your ability to survive in water.
“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.”
“We want everyone to have a great time this Christmas and our Don’t Drink and Drown campaign gives essential advice to party-goers to make sure they know how to stay safe when they’re out celebrating.”
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
Don’t Drink and Drown was launched in 2014 following a string of tragic drownings of young people. Research indicated that around a quarter of all adult drowning victims have alcohol in their bloodstream and RLSS UK were keen to prevent more tragedies by providing a strategic approach in hot spot areas.