Belfast pub will promote water safety as major chain adopts RNLI campaign

Lifeboats News Release

Pub chain Nicholson’s have shown there are no half measures when it comes to water safety, after pledging the company’s support for the RNLI’s national drowning prevention campaign, Respect the Water.

RNLI and Nicholson's pub chain work together for drowning prevention

RNLI/Laura Lewis

RNLI and Nicholson's pub chain work together for drowning prevention

The chain’s Crown Liquor Saloon pub in Great Victoria Street, is supporting the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s Respect the Water campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the potential risks of being on or near water, and equip people with the skills and knowledge to keep themselves and others safe when in or near water.

Every year around 190 people drown around the coasts of the UK and Ireland. Often they have travelled from inland areas to the coast, and many of them never even intended to be in the water but accidentally slipped or tripped.

The Crown Liquor Saloon is one of more than 70 Nicholson’s pubs involved in the partnership with the RNLI. They will promote water safety messages to customers this summer via special promotions of their fish dishes, empowering staff with water safety advice to share with customers, and running additional fundraising and awareness activities. Throughout the six-week partnership, Nicholson’s aims to raise £28,000 for the RNLI, which remains an independent charity reliant on voluntary contributions.

Annette Middleton, Marketing Manager, Mitchells and Butlers, the parent company for Nicholson’s, said: ‘We’re thrilled to support the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign. Pubs are a thoroughly British institution, part of the very fabric of our culture, and we see the RNLI charity in exactly the same way. At Nicholson’s we place great emphasis on the safety of our customers, but supporting the RNLI gives us an opportunity to go beyond our customers and hopefully educate a wider audience about the potential dangers of water.’

The RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign aims to educate people in Belfast and across Northern Ireland about the potential dangers of water, particularly at this time of year when temperatures rise and many head to the coast to go afloat or visit beaches. Whilst the charity’s lifeboats and lifeguards are on hand to carry our rescues, Respect the Water aims to prevent people getting into difficulty in the first place.

Ross MacLeod, Coastal Safety Manager from RNLI, said: ‘Through our Respect the Water campaign we’re trying to change people’s behaviours to make them think about safety and take steps to safeguard themselves and others. It goes without saying our lifeboats will always launch to someone who is in distress - as a search and rescue organisation that will never change.

‘But the phrase “prevention is better than cure” rings true, and it is fantastic that such a popular chain as Nicholson’s has agreed to support us in spreading those safety messages.

Some examples of campaign advice the Belfast pub staff will be helping to spread include:

Around 190 people die at the UK and Irish coast each year. Half never planned to enter the water.

  • British and Irish waters are cold enough year-round to trigger cold water shock.
  • People who fall into cold water follow the same instinct, to gasp, thrash about and swim hard. But this is the worst thing to do – it increases chances of water entering your lungs and increases strain on your heart.
  • If you fall into cold water, fight your instinct to swim hard. Instead just float until you can regain control of your breathing before then trying to swim to safety or call for help. You’ll have a far better chance of staying alive.
  • If you see someone else in trouble in the water, fight the instinct to go in yourself. Call 999 and ask for the coastguard.
  • Respect the Water is at the heart of the charity’s drowning prevention work, helping achieve the RNLI’s goal to halve the number of accidental coastal deaths by 2024.

The partnership with Nicholson’s is being backed by RNLI ambassador and rugby union star Jack Nowell, who grew up in Cornwall and now plays for Premiership side Exeter Chiefs. Jack, charity, said: ‘Knowing what I do about the potential dangers of rivers and the sea, and being a pub-goer myself, it’s good to see Nicholson’s supporting the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign so wholeheartedly.

‘Their staff is totally engaging with the campaign, undergoing training so they can confidently advise people about the risks associated with water. One of the RNLI’s key messages is that alcohol and water don’t mix, and it’s fantastic that staff will be speaking directly to those who are potentially at risk in that environment.’


RNLI media contacts

  • Niamh Stephenson RNLI Public Relations Manager Tel: 087 1254 124 / 01 8900 460 email

  • Nuala McAloon RNLI Press Officer Tel: 087 6483547 email:

  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

RNLI and Nicholson's pub chain work together on Respect the Water

RNLI/Laura Lewis

RNLI and Nicholson's pub chain work together on Respect the Water

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.