Every other minute, someone in the world drowns. These are wasted lives. Preventable deaths.

Drowning is a silent epidemic that claims an estimated 235,000 lives every year. 227 children under the age of 15 drown every day. These are preventable deaths and the RNLI believes this needs to change.

The RNLI is working with global leaders, public health organisations and at-risk communities to help turn the tide. We want to make drowning prevention a priority worldwide and reduce this staggering loss of life.

By raising awareness, conducting research and testing interventions, we can make a difference together. 

Montage of people effected by drowning

The global drowning problem

Drowning is a huge problem internationally. In many parts of Asia, it is the leading killer of children over the age of 1. But the scale of the problem is not getting the attention that it needs.

An Aquatic Survival trainer teaches children in the sea on Zanzibar

Photo: Mike Lavis

An Aquatic Survival trainer teaches children in the sea on Zanzibar

Lifesaving interventions

Anyone can drown. No one should. We won’t stand by while anyone, anywhere, drowns. The RNLI’s international work is a small, but important, part of what we do.  

Working with our international partners and leaders, we’re helping communities most at risk of drowning with tailored, targeted interventions that will help stop these preventable deaths.  

A lifeguard teaching water safety to a class of girls in Bangladesh

Photo: RNLI/Mike Lavis

International resources

From community first aid guides to documents to help set up your own beach lifeguard service, you can make a difference in your community with these materials. Designed by the RNLI’s water safety experts, these resources can help you tackle the drowning problem.

Explore our international work

A child plays by the water in Bangladesh
The global drowning problem
An estimated 235,000 people drown worldwide every year. It is a staggering number, yet this global problem isn’t receiving the serious attention it needs.
What are the causes
An Aquatic Survival trainer teaches children in the sea on Zanzibar
Lifesaving interventions
With the causes of drowning varying widely, there is no single solution.
LEARN MORE
A lifeguard teaching water safety to a class of girls in Bangladesh
Resources
Lifesavers worldwide can download free guides to help develop their own services.
Download the guides
Swimming lessons being taught in Bangladesh by our partner
Why we want to end drowning worldwide
The scale of the global drowning problem is a human disaster too big for us to ignore.
THE RNLI’S APPROACH
A young boy plays with a wheel in front of a body of water at dusk in rural Bangladesh
World Drowning Prevention Day
The RNLI won’t stand by while anyone, anywhere, drowns.
Learn more
Reflections, brother and sister, Reshma (8) and Ridoy (9) are fishing on floodwaters in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh after a monsoon.
Where we're working
Around 235,000 people drown every year, making this a killer that affects every country to some degree.
SEE THE COUNTRIES
Swimming lessons taking place in Tanzania by our partner
Our international partners
We can’t take on drowning alone - and we don’t have to. We’re working with a committed and diverse group of organisations to reach more people and save more lives worldwide.
WHO WE WORK WITH
A child learning to swim in the sea on Zanzibar
International funding
The international drowning problem is vast, but we know that simple, inexpensive solutions are very effective. A small amount spent on overseas projects can change countless lives.
HOW WE’RE FUNDED