‘Disappointment’ at number of preventable drownings
FIGURES released last Friday reveal that 321 people lost their lives in accidental drownings in the UK last year – almost one in 10 of them in the Highlands and islands.
The figures, published by the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF), also show the majority of those who died did not intend to be in the water, with 82 people having drowned while walking or running and 29 deaths while taking part in a commercial activity.
The number also includes 30 people who died from suspected natural causes while or after being in the water.
LochWatch founder member Iain MacKinnon, a member of the NWSF, said he was disappointed that in this day and age there continued to be ‘preventable deaths in the water’.
NWSF’s water incident database compiles drowning statistics from across the UK and breaks these down into deaths by activity, age, geographical location and location type.
The majority of deaths occurred at the coast/ beach/ shore (95) and in rivers (86). As in previous years, males are most susceptible to drowning, with 232 men and boys being recorded as having drowned, compared to 43 women and girls. There was a higher number of deaths for males than females recorded in every age bracket.
Children and youths aged up to 19 represent 10 per cent of those killed, with 32 dying in 2015, with 23 of those being in the 15-19 aged bracket. July represented the highest number of deaths (46, up from 34 in June and 35 in August), while many people also drowned in January (40).
In England, 231 people died in drownings that were accidental or related to suspected natural causes, with 50 in Scotland, 33 in Wales, and three in Northern Ireland.
Mr MacKinnon, Argyll and Bute respentative to the NWSF, said: ‘The forum, through its partner organisations such as LochWatch, is determined to tackle drowning so that the families and loved ones of these tragedies may be comforted in the knowledge that we’re all working together to reduce incidents around our coast and inland waters and protect future generations.’