Reflections and preparations - Summer 2021
As we enter May and approach the busy summer season – ahead of a year predicted to be like no other – the National Water Safety Forum’s Coastal Group met virtually to reflect on the progress and preparations in place by all members, which will help keep the public and staff stay safe on beaches.
To name but a few highlights: The National Water Safety Forum were pleased to share the updated version of the COVID 19 beach safety guidance for local authorities, owners, managers and operators. The guidance has been developed to help mitigate drowning and water-related harm at beaches, while also covering the challenges and practical considerations of seeking to maintain social distancing at the beach. Find out more here.
HM Coastguard gave insight on how coastguard incident data is being used to support stakeholders and partners by identifying activities and locations where emergency search and rescue help is required at the coast. The data is being shared so that necessary mitigations can be taken. The update also included future plans to give HM Coastguard staff access to live data, which can be shared to inform and shape stakeholder activity and action in relation to beach safety.
A single national message
The RNLI presented on the #RespectTheWater brand. The group recapped on the progress and looked to the future of how the forum will apply the new brand across all organisations – an existing RNLI brand which has been refreshed and remodelled for national use. It has been designed with the aim to unify and amplify water safety messages with a single, national call to action that can be applied to both coastal and inland messaging by the forum and beyond. It will also feature in the joint RNLI and HM Coastguard beach safety campaign going live this summer.
Key dates, news and activities
Members also reflected on the new UN General Assembly resolution, committed to greater international efforts to prevent drowning, which also introduces the first-ever World Drowning Prevention Day (July 25). The virtual room touched upon the potential plans for the future in relation to the day and opportunities for safety messaging.
The annual, upcoming Maritime Safety Week campaign (5-9 July) – a central government initiative for maritime safety – was discussed and the potential for joined up activity and roundtables, with a particular emphasis this year on beach safety.
RoSPA reported on emerging projects including digital interventions for public rescue equipment like life rings, exploring issues and the possibility for new guidance around placement and types of equipment for various locations, plus much more.
The working group will meet again in early September to reflect on the summer.