Ahead of next weekend’s Sunderland International Airshow; a local pub landlord has offered to assist volunteers from Sunderland RNLI to help spread their ‘Respect the Water’ safety message.
Paul Walsh, Landlord of Smugglers said: ‘I was only too pleased to support the RNLI in spreading this vital message. With our premises being so close to Roker beach and the charities beach lifeguarding unit; I wanted to help them raise awareness of the campaign through my customers and wider community’.
The five-year figures show an average of 24 people die around the north England coasts each year. Of the 121 people who died over the past five years, over half (51%) were taking part in activities like walking, running, climbing and boating and were, therefore, unlikely to have intended to enter the water. Slips and falls while walking and running contributed to the most coastal deaths in the region, accounting for 31% (38).
The RNLI is aiming to halve the number of coastal deaths by 2024. The charity’s national drowning prevention campaign, Respect the Water, is this year warning people – particularly adult men – to be aware of the dangers of the coastline, as well as the water itself.
Alan Dixon, Sunderland RNLI DLA and Community Safety Officer said:
‘We are extremely grateful to Paul for offering to support this vital campaign. The sea might look inviting, but it can be dangerously unpredictable, with hazards which can be fatal if not respected. Cold water is a major risk for anyone who ends up in the water – intentionally or otherwise. The body’s reaction to sudden immersion in cold water will trigger uncontrollable gasping, which can draw water into the lungs and lead to drowning. The coldness will also gradually shut down the use of limbs, making it very difficult even for strong swimmers to stay afloat.
‘Currents under the surface can overwhelm even the strongest swimmers. They can drag people out of their depth so quickly, and if you try to swim against them you’ll become exhausted.
‘We want people to enjoy the water but to make sure they respect it. On average 24 lives are lost around the north of England coast each year but many of these losses could be avoided if people acknowledge the dangers and follow some basic safety advice.’
Those interested in finding out more about the dangers of the coast can visit the Respect the Water website and see for themselves at www.rnli.org/respectthewater or search #RespectTheWater on social media.
As a registered charity the RNLI relies on voluntary donations and legacies from the public for its income.