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Newhaven RNLI echo’s launch of the charity’s vital water safety campaign

Lifeboats News Release

With warmer weather, a bank holiday and the May half term approaching, the RNLI is launching a Float to Live campaign, to ensure families know what to do should they get into trouble on the water.

Stephen Duncombe/ Watch and Shoot Lifeboats

Newhaven RNLI's Severn class 'David and Elizabeth Acland'
Experts at the charity are urging everyone planning to enjoy the coast to remember that if you get into trouble in the water, Float to Live.

The Float to Live campaign is launched as the RNLI reveals that 32% of people still do not know what to do if they unexpectedly get into difficulty in the water. *

Newhaven volunteer Water Safety Officer, Jane Masey, says: ‘Research has shown that tilting your head back to submerge the ears is key; we all float best in slightly different positions so your legs may naturally sink and you may need to use your hands to scull.'

‘Relax and try to breathe normally, then once your breathing is under control, call for help or swim to safety if you feel able.’

There were 226 deaths in the UK from accidental drownings in 2022, across inland and coastal locations. Of the people who died 40 per cent had no intention of entering the water, such as those walking, with causes including slips, trips and falls, being cut off by the tide, or swept in by waves.

‘If you spot someone else in trouble in the water call 999 – if you are at sea or on the beach ask for the coastguard, or if inland ask for the Fire and Rescue Service.'

Ends

Notes for the Editor

*New research carried out by the RNLI and the University of Portsmouth’s Extreme Environments Laboratory (EEL) tested people in different open water environments.

The RNLI & EEL research shows that floating is different for everyone, where some people naturally float with little movement, others require gentle use of their hands and legs to stay afloat. 

If you find yourself in difficulty in the water:

  • Tilt your head back with ears submerged
  • Relax and try to control your breathing
  • Use your hands to help you stay afloat
  • It's OK if your legs sink, we all float differently

#FloatToLive

For further information please see www.rnli.org/safety/float

Drownings stat: is from the WAID Water Incident Database (WAID), maintained by the National Water Safety Forum. To view and download the WAID 2022 report visit: https://www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/waid

RNLI research on Float to Live awareness: Basis Research, RNLI Water Safety Survey, April 2023. Representative sample of 1,007 UK adults aged 16-64

Float to Live research: In 2022 the team at the Extreme Environments Laboratory (EEL) at the University of Portsmouth undertook a piece of research that set out to develop the existing ‘Float to Live’ advice.

About the University of Portsmouth:

The University of Portsmouth is a progressive and dynamic university with an outstanding reputation for innovative teaching and globally significant research and innovation.

The University's research and innovation culture is impacting lives today and in the future and addressing local, national and global challenges across science, technology, humanities, business and creative industries. http://www.port.ac.uk/

RNLI media contacts

For more information please telephone Roz Ashton, RNLI volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer on 07900 887423 or [email protected] or Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer on 07785 296252 [email protected] or contact the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789.

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For more information on the RNLI please visit rnli.org. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI News Centre rnli.org/news-and-media.

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 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 by email.

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