Don’t Drink and Drown this festive season

#BeAMate and help your loved ones get home safe.
08 Dec 23
Motor boats at a stoppage during winter

The RYA is proud to support the Royal Life Saving Society’s ‘Don’t Drink and Drown’ (11-17 December) campaign. The annual event is an important opportunity to encourage smart decision-making whilst being around water.

Statistics show that on average 73 people lose their lives each year through a substance-related drowning, this is almost a quarter (29%) of UK annual accidental drowning fatalities, and young men are one of the highest risk groups.

Changing weather conditions

According to the Water Incident Database Report (WAID) two in every three drowning fatalities happen in inland waters. Although walking along a towpath in the dark may be an unavoidable part of your journey home, there are some mitigating actions you can take. 

It is important to be aware of the changing weather conditions and how this may affect both the terrain and visibility.  Rain and ice can cause slippery conditions and fog may impair your awareness of mooring ropes or the edge of the riverbank. Consider carrying a torch and buddying up with a friend. 

Follow the golden rules to staying safe by the water this December:

  • Check weather conditions.
  • Plan a safe route home, avoiding water wherever possible.
  • Look after one another #BeAMate.

Calling for help

Call 999 or 112. If you are at the coast, ask for the Coastguard; if you are inland, ask for the Fire and Rescue Service.

Tell them to float on their back.

Throw them something that floats.

Show your support

Throughout the week the RYA will be supporting the campaign by sharing reminders about water safety on social media. You can raise awareness with your friends and family by following the hashtags: #DontDrinkandDrown #BeAMate and sharing the posts. 

You can find further advice from the RLSS on how to rescue someone from drowning by visiting the Royal Life Saving Society website.