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Pub partnership 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.

The RNLI's Guy Addington runs through throw bags training with Nicholson's staff

Laura Lewis

The RNLI's Guy Addington runs through throw bags training with Nicholson's staff

The chain – which operates 41 pubs and bars across Greater London – will be 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 die around the coasts of the UK and Ireland – many of whom never even intended to be in the water but accidentally slipped or tripped.

Now Nicholson’s has joined forces with the RNLI to promote water safety messages to customers across its entire network of 78 locations, 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.

In addition, the RNLI will supply a number of potentially lifesaving “throw bags” to pubs at key locations along the River Thames in London. RNLI personnel will then deliver training to floor and bar staff on how to use them to rescue someone from the water in an emergency, and provide advice on general water safety which can be passed on to customers.

Annette Middleton, Marketing Manager, Mitchell & Butlers 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.’

RNLI London lifeboats have launched on many occasions to people who entered the River Thames after consuming alcohol, who were often unaware of the risks of the water, such as strong currents and cold water shock. Empowering businesses along the river and providing equipment and training is all part of the RNLI’s efforts to prevent people getting into difficulty in water 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.

‘Providing throw bags and training will empower staff at pubs to become patrons of water safety, looking after customers in their pub locality who are at risk of slips and trips when around their bars. And this is very much a pilot which, if successful, will be rolled out to all waterside Nicholson’s pubs across the land.’

Some examples of the campaign advice Nicholson’s 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 and 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 are 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.’

Media opportunity: The partnership between Nicholson’s and the RNLI will be officially launched at an event taking place on Wednesday 31 May at the Horniman’s pub, Hay's Galleria, London.

RNLI media contacts

  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252 tim_ash@rnli.org.uk
Guy Addington prepares to launch the Nicholson's partnership with staff at The Horniman's pub in London

Laura Lewis

Guy Addington prepares to launch the Nicholson's partnership with staff at The Horniman's pub in London
The flyer for the launch event
The flyer for the launch event

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.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

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.