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Information and resources for raising awareness of water safety.

During the school holidays, and in particular in hot weather, increasing numbers of children put themselves at risk of drowning. On average between 40 and 50 children drown per year in the UK.

The water safety code

Water may look safe, but it can be dangerous. Learn to spot and keep away from dangers. You may swim well in a warm indoor pool, but that does not mean that you will be able to swim in cold water.

The dangers of water include:

  • it is very cold
  • there may be hidden currents
  • it can be difficult to get out (steep slimy banks)
  • it can be deep
  • there may be hidden rubbish, for example shopping trolleys, broken glass
  • there are no lifeguards
  • it is difficult to estimate depth
  • it may be polluted and may make you ill

ROSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents)

The main efforts of RoSPA's Leisure Safety department are focused on reducing the several hundred drowning deaths that occur every year in the UK. It provides balanced advice, campaign for change and drive improvements where appropriate. To do this it works with a wide range of professionals, the UK Government and most importantly members of the public.

The department has a useful water safety leaflet which can be downloaded from its Water Safety for children webpage.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service (DFRS) - water safety

Derbyshire is home to many open water courses, such as lakes, reservoirs, rivers and disused quarries. 

Tombstoning is a craze that has swept the UK, with many young people heading to some of Derbyshire’s disused quarries to take part in the latest adrenaline fuelled activity; filming the activity and posting it to social media.

Shock has been produced by the DFRS to underline the dangers of ‘Cold Water Shock’, something that occurs in the body when entering cold water. 

Station Manager John Cooke from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service said:

“There are many dangers associated with entering derelict buildings and also with swimming or jumping into open water; these can become more of a risk as school children break up for the summer holidays and start to explore with their mates, looking for ‘exciting’ things to do that they can share on the latest social media channel."

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service is also sending a letter and links to the videos to all Derbyshire schools requesting they show their pupils the videos prior to the summer break beginning.

RNLI  (Royal National Lifeboat Institute)

Offer free teaching packs for teachers and youth leaders include everything you need to teach children about water safety and lifesaving at sea.

This summer, RNLI Lifeguards can’t be on every beach, meaning a heightened water safety risk to beach goers. We are asking you to help us share some important messages to children and their families.

It is anticipated that as restrictions are eased and the summer weather is here, people will head to the beaches and coastline to enjoy the sun, sea and time with friends and family.  In a normal year, the RNLI helps thousands of people who end up getting into difficulty in or close to the water when doing these types of activities.

Throughout the summer term, the RNLI's local team of trained volunteers and Lifeguards do their best to visit as many of the schools, colleges and youth groups in our region as possible. However, due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak they have not been able to engage with school communities as we normally would.  

Below, you will find out ways in which you can help at this time.

  • Download and use the RNLI Education resource pack. Educating young people about how to keep safe in, on and around water is fundamental to saving lives at sea and a core part of the RNLI’s water safety activity. This term they have put together two downloadable packs of resources focusing on keeping safe this Summer. This will help you engage young people with essential – and lifesaving – water safety lessons in schools and as part of home school packs. 
  • Share a link to the RNLI Water Safety from Home resources - If you’re a parent or teacher looking for ways to engage, educate and entertain your children at home, play our Water Safety Wednesday series – perfect for primary school-aged children. 
  • Please help by sharing the RNLI and MCA’s Beach Safety Campaign with parents, guardians and your wider community. Beach lifeguards cannot be everywhere this summer – it is vital every one of us takes responsibility for our own and our families’ safety.

Quarries and reservoirs

Derbyshire has a number of quarries and reservoirs that are an attraction to children. The Nidirect government services website has useful information and advice in this area.

Other useful links

Also see