Be Water Aware week

Be Water Aware week

This week is Be Water Aware week and is very relevant to residents of Ash Parish due to the Basingstoke Canal, Blackwater River, Fishing Lakes & many Ponds. The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has this week launched its drowning prevention and water safety campaign which is called Be Water Aware and aims to raise awareness of the risk of accidental drowning.

Be Water Aware 26th April – 2nd May 2021

NFCC is a member of the National Water Safety Forum and is committed to the National Drowning Prevention Strategy which aims to cut water-related deaths by 50 per cent by 2026. Drowning is amongst the leading causes of accidental death in the UK and the campaign aims 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

As the first lockdown was lifted and restrictions eased in 2020, many people headed to coastal and inland water to spend time outdoors especially as this was coupled with some fantastic weather. In 2021 as lockdown restrictions lift, we anticipate people will also look to spend time near water, with many people also enjoying staycations. The advice provided during the campaign week will help people prepare for spending time in and around water in the safest way possible.


The campaign targets the following:

  • People undertaking activities near water– specifically people who are undertaking activities near water but have no intention of entering the water and may not realise the actions they can take to help themselves or help someone else who has entered the water
  • People undertaking activities in water – entering open water is very different to taking a dip in the pool, but there are many simple things people can do to remain safer in water
  • Away from home – At the moment we only know where drownings occurred but not where the person was from. Anecdotally, we do know you are at a greater risk of drowning if you are not familiar with the area

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. By highlighting this issue and making sure simple safety messages reach them, we hope to reduce the number of these needless and preventable deaths.”

Campaign toolkit Download

The UK Drowning Prevent Strategy Download


What to do if you fall in the water


Finding & helping someone in the water


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