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Pub partners will promote water safety as Nicholson’s 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.

Nicholson’s staff Darren O’ Brien and Farhod Shukrullaev, and RNLI Community Safety Partner Guy Addington

Laura Lewis

Nicholson’s staff Darren O’ Brien and Farhod Shukrullaev, and RNLI Community Safety Partner Guy Addington

The chain – which operates a total of 78 pubs and bars across the UK – 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 pubs in Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Cambridge, Canterbury, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Harrogate, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Windsor and York will collectively aim 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.’

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 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.’

RNLI media contacts

  • Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252
  • Paul Dunt, RNLI Press Officer (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207416, 07786 668825,
  • For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

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 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland