Cumbria Fire and Rescue Services have issued water safety advice in light of recent tragic events.

‘Be Water Aware’ is the awareness campaign that hopes to provide residents across Cumbria – and nationwide – to be safe in and around the lakes and rivers throughout the summer holidays.

Drowning is a leading cause of accidental deaths in the UK and, together with partner agencies, the Fire and Rescue Service is committed to ensuring everyone in Cumbria is equipped with the information they need to stay safe around water.

Will Richardson, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service’s Group Manager, Head of Community Safety, said: “The recent months have presented considerable and tragic incidents at our waters throughout Cumbria.

“We urge the public to understand the dangers which our waters can present, to learn the importance of knowing how to float to live, and to call 999 if others are in trouble if there is a water-related emergency.”

He added: “Prevention is always better than cure. We want people to enjoy the water safely and we are fully committed to preventing drowning incidents from happening in the first place.

“To do this, more education is needed, so that people fully understand the risks and are better prepared.”

There are simple steps to raise awareness of these types of risks around water and these can implemented while out in The Lakes to help prevent deaths.

Will Richardson said: “If you are spending time near water, make sure you know what to do if you happened to fall in. The advice is not to panic, float on your back and then either call for help or swim to safety.

“If you’ve consumed alcohol, do not enter the water, and avoid walking routes near water.

“Never enter the water to try and help a person or animal – always call 999 and use any water rescue equipment if it is available.

“If you are spending time near water, whether at home or abroad, make sure you are familiar with local safety information and that children are always fully and actively supervised.”

The latest figures from the Water Incident Database (WAID), which is maintained by the National Water Safety Forum, shows that there were 254 deaths in UK waters from accidental drownings in 2020 across inland and coastal locations. This is an increase of 34 from the previous year.

Males continue to over-represent with 78% of deaths. For further water safety advice, please contact your fire station and keep up to date with Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service’s social media channels. You can find more safety advice on Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service’s website here.