Cumbria Fire and Rescue services are urging people to be careful in and around our region’s waterways.

Statistics have revealed that every year in the UK, about 400 people die from drowning as a result of an accident in or around water.

Half of accidental drownings in the UK occur when people didn’t intend to go in the water, so simple steps to raise awareness of the risks around water and how they can be reduced will help prevent these deaths.

The three main types of water related accidents Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service attends are:

• Rescue of people who didn’t intend to go in the water

• Rescue of people who were in the water intentionally and get into difficulty

• Rescue of people who intentionally enter the water with the intent to harm themselves

Head of community safety Craig Drinkald said: “Our county has lots of beauty spots near the water and they are especially nice to enjoy when the sun is shining.

"We don’t want to spoil people’s fun by telling them not to jump into rivers and lakes.

“However, we do feel it is important to educate the whole community about the risk open water poses if you are not a trained professional with the correct equipment.

"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.

"In order to do this, more education is needed, not just in schools but also through engaging with the public in awareness campaigns, so that people fully understand the risks and are better prepared.

"Drowning is amongst the leading causes of accidental death in the UK. We want to make people safer by making them aware of the risks and dangers when around water, what to do if they fall into water and how to help someone who is in trouble in water."

• 223 people accidentally drowned in the UK in 2019

• 44% of these people just happened to be near water and had no intention of entering the water

• 82% of these fatalities were male

NFCC’s Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Lead, Chief Fire Officer Dawn Whittaker, said: “We want people to enjoy spending time in and around water safely.

“We want to encourage people to be water aware by understanding the risks, following advice and being prepared in the event of an incident."

If you spot anyone in trouble in the water, call 999 immediately.