One conversation can save a mate from drowning says RNLI

New research from the RNLI reveals nearly all young men aged 16-35 (98%) would share advice with their male friends, but less than half (41%) have offered advice about safety issues.

Meanwhile, coastal fatality figures2 released by the RNLI reveal of the 109 people who died at the UK coast in 2017, 91% of them were men.

This August the charity’s Respect the Water campaign is encouraging young men to share two survival skills with friends that could save their lives:

· If you see someone struggling in the water at the coast, call 999 or 112 immediately and ask for the Coastguard. Don’t go in after them – you may get into trouble yourself.

RNLI warning

· If you are in trouble in cold water, fight your instinct to swim hard or thrash about, as this could lead to breathing in water and drowning. Instead, relax and FLOAT on your back, until you have regained control of your breathing.

Ross Macleod, RNLI Respect the Water Manager, says: “August is a notoriously busy month on the coast, which draws groups of friends to our amazing beaches to relax and let off steam during the holidays. But sadly this also means

more young men getting into difficulty in the water or tragically losing their lives.

“Our research shows 70% of young men aged 16-35 admit to having been in a dangerous or scary situation alongside their male friends, with 35% of those revealing potentially dangerous water was a factor. So we’re calling on guys to be aware of the risks at the coast, and to look out for their mates by remembering and sharing key survival skills.

“Stereotyping would say men don’t talk openly with their mates, but our survey suggests nearly all men share advice with their friends. With less than half revealing they offer advice about safety issues, we believe it’s important to urge more men to chat to their mates about what to do in a dangerous situation at the coast, to save more lives. A simple conversation may be all it takes to truly look out for your mates.”

Over the past five years, 98 people have died at the UK coast during the month of August, making it one of the deadliest months for coastal fatalities, joint only with July.

If you do see a friend in trouble in the water at the coast, fight your instinctive reaction to go in after them, as this puts you at risk of getting in trouble yourself. The best way to help is to call 999 or 112 immediately and ask for the Coastguard. You can try to find something that floats and throw it to them, or tell them to FLOAT on their back until help arrives.

If you find yourself in trouble in cold water your natural reaction can be to panic and thrash around, which increases the chances of breathing in water and drowning. The best thing to do in this situation is FLOAT on your back, keeping your airway clear until you can control your breathing. You can then plan your next move to safety.

Visit and see the RNLI’s key steps to floating, designed to help give people the confidence to be able to FLOAT if they find themselves in trouble in cold water.

Anyone planning a trip to the beach is advised by the RNLI to choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, which is the area most closely monitored by the lifeguards.