‘Dis­ap­point­ment’ at num­ber of pre­ventable drown­ings

The Oban Times - - News -

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.’

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