National Water Safety Forum


April newsletter from the National Water Safety Forum



When I became Chair of the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) I set an ambition for us to 'move up a level'. Using the collective influence and collaborative power of all partners and members, we have raised NWSF's profile and made an even bigger societal impact through water safety campaigns.

The results speak for themselves: every year since 2016 we have seen deaths from accidental drowning fall. This was not achieved this overnight but rather through patient work in partnerships. Integral to this success has been implementing the National Drowning Prevention Strategy.

Finally, in the light of the present situation with the outbreak of COVID-19, I would urge all partners of the NWSF to continue to spread the message about the risk of swimming and taking precautions if undertaking exercise near water. We all have our part to play in supporting the NHS at this moment of extraordinary strain on its resources. Reducing the number of accidental drownings, serious incidents, and 'near-misses' can help with this. Please support RoSPA's recently launched campaign, 'Accident Free, Avoid A&E' and point people towards their resources which will help people stay safe at home.

Going forward, three things are clear: firstly the need to speak with one voice, secondly to keep ourselves motivated by celebrating the achievements of the NWSF and thirdly to expand our reach. I hope that this newsletter can help with that.

George Rawlinson, Chair, National Water Safety Forum


Water safety during lockdown

On March 20, gyms, pools and other enclosed social spaces were ordered to close by the UK government to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19.  On Monday March 23, the government went further with its measures to enforce 'social distancing' and banned all gatherings of more than two people.

As a result, the RoSPA's Water Safety Conference Scotland which was due to take place in March, has been postponed to September 16. You can keep up to date with the latest NWSF events by checking our calendar.

Also, The Royal Life Saving Society UK, have made free a number of resources to help keep the kids entertained whilst social distancing restrictions are in place.


New WAID System

Progress is being made towards improving the WAter Incident Database (WAID) reporting system. Consultants have been appointed to assist with the project and a meeting of the major data contributors was held in Southampton recently.  

We need your help. Please spend a few minutes to provide feedback on the WAID system before Friday April 4.

2019 Annual Incident Report

The production of the dataset and report is progressing to schedule.  At this moment in time, we are deliberating when would be best to release the report. Please email David Walker ( if you would like to express your views on this matter.


LGA fire conference

Dawn Whittaker, Chief Fire Officer East Sussex Fire and Rescue service and David Walker represented the NWSF at the Local Government Association Fire Conference in March. Dawn gave a presentation about the work of the Forum and provided examples from case studies in Durham, Cornwall and East Sussex.

Events and campaigns

#WaterSafetyWednesdays, starts today at 10.15am a brand-new streaming series from RNLI for children of all ages.

The National Fire Chief Council's #BeWaterAware campaign will commence on April 20. Any support you can give would be most appreciated.

#AccidentFreeAvoidAandE is a campaign from RoSPA, starting this week to Help the NHS, and families to stay safe.

Don't forget to take a look at our regularly updated events calendar.



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