An emotional video featuring families whose loved ones have drowned has been launched by STA, the UK swimming and water safety charity, to mark the start of National Water Safety Week 2016.
The video for the campaign week, which runs from June 6th-10th, has been produced to raise awareness of the importance of water safety education.
Created by STA, it shares the real-life stories of four families who have experienced the devastating effects of losing a loved one to drowning and shows firsthand how mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings and friends have been affected by the tragedy.
The families said they wanted to support STA’s campaign and tell their story so that parents understand why it is imperative that children are taught from a young age how to be safe in and around the water.
If we can save just one more life and prevent more families going through what we have, it will be worth it.
Dave Candler, CEO at STA, said the message from the video is clear: it’s not enough just to know how to swim; the majority of people who drown accidentally every year are actually strong swimmers.
Being water safe aware is all important all-year round, not just the summer, but statistics prove that the summer months are the most dangerous, he said.
As a leading water safety body, we don’t want to discourage people from enjoying the water safely, but to understand where it is safe and to know how to spot the dangers.
One of those involved in the video is Beckie Ramsay, who has been campaigning for water safety education since she tragically lost her 13-year old son, Dylan.
Dylan Ramsay drowned in the summer of 2011 as he tried to swim back to safety after jumping into the water at Hill Top Quarry, near Chorley, Lancashire. Despite being a strong swimmer, he quickly got into difficulties and drowned when his body went into shock because of the plummeting water temperature.
Beckie, who has been instrumental in helping STA create the video, said:
Since losing Dylan I’ve been touring the country talking to primary and secondary children about the dangers of swimming in unsupervised open waters.
I’m now extremely proud to be working with STA and I’m especially proud of this film – I urge all parents to watch it and pledge their support by sharing it as widely as possible. If we can save just one more life and prevent more families going through what we have, it will be worth it.
The video also features the heart-breaking stories of Cameron Gosling, who drowned on July 5, 2014, aged 14; James Goodship, who was 16 when he drowned on June 3, 2014; and David Layfield, who drowned 11 years ago, aged 13.
More people drowned in the UK last year than died in a fire-related dwelling accident and drowning is the third highest cause of accidental death of children in the UK.
Dawn Whittaker, the Water Safety Lead for the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA), who offers water safety advice in the STA video, said:
It might come as a surprise to many people that more people drowned in the UK last year than died in a fire-related or drink-driving incident. We see the devastating effects of this through the families who have bravely shared their story on this video.
With the weather now getting warmer we want to make sure people understand the risks of swimming in unsupervised waters. Plus, as a fire service, we also want to reach those who did not intend to be in the water, runners, walkers and fishermen as they make up the highest proportion of drownings in the UK.
By highlighting all these issues and making sure simple safety messages reach people during STA’s National Water Safety Week, we all hope to reduce the number of these needless deaths.
Dave Candler added:
We urge everyone to get involved and pledge their support. Anything from sharing this video, pledging their support on social media, running water safety themed swimming lessons, organising a school assembly – everything helps and by working together we can we make a difference and prevent drownings.
People are also encouraged to share the video on social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag #WaterSafetyPledge.
- Water Safety, Health & Wellbeing