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RNLI launches vital water safety campaign ahead of bank holiday and half term

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RNLI launches vital water safety campaign ahead of bank holiday and half term

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Today the RNLI is launching a vital water safety campaign ahead of the bank holiday and half term week. 

As the weather improves and more people head to the south west region’s coastline, the charity is urging everyone to remember that if you get into trouble in the water, Float to Live. 

The campaign is launched as the RNLI reveals that 32 percent of people still do not know what to do if they unexpectedly get into difficulty in the water. And new research between the RNLI and University of Portsmouth’s Extreme Environments Laboratory (EEL) shows that floating is different for everyone, where some people naturally float with little movement, others require gentle use of their hands and legs to stay afloat.

There were 226 deaths in the UK from accidental drownings in 2022, across inland and coastal locations. Of the people who died 40 per cent had no intention of entering the water, such as those walking, with causes including slips, trips and falls, being cut off by the tide, or swept in by waves. 

Research carried out by the RNLI and the University of Portsmouth’s Extreme Environments Laboratory (EEL) tested people in different open water environments. 

The research has shown that tilting your head back to submerge the ears is key; we all float best in slightly different positions so your legs may naturally sink and you may need to use your hands to scull. 

Relax and try to breathe normally, then once your breathing is under control, call for help or swim to safety if you feel able. 

If you find yourself in difficulty in the water: 
• Tilt your head back with ears submerged 
• Relax and try to control your breathing 
• Use your hands to help you stay afloat 
• It's OK if your legs sink, we all float differently 

If you spot someone else in trouble in the water  999 – if you are at sea or on the beach ask for the coastguard, or if inland ask for the Fire and Rescue Service.

For further information please see www.rnli.org/safety/float

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