At the start of summer school holidays and the recent heatwave there has been a sobering reminder of the dangers of drowning with more than 20 people losing their lives across the UK.

East Devon District Council wants to remind people making a trip to the seaside this summer that this should be a time to remember and enjoy, please do not let it turn into a tragedy. Key things to remember when in water are:

• If you get into trouble in the water, Float to Live.
• Lean back and use your arms and legs to help you float, then get control of your breathing before calling for help or swimming to safety.
• If you see someone else in trouble in the water, call 999 or 112. If you are on the coast ask for the coastguard, if you are inland, ask for the fire service.
• Don’t swim if you have been drinking alcohol
• Swim at lifeguarded beaches if possible. There are now lifeguards present at Sidmouth and Exmouth beach.

Also don’t think that just because you are young or a strong swimmer you are immune to the dangers, males represent 78% of the water related deaths in 2020 with young men under 35 being at most risk. This is directly related to peer pressure and bravado leading people to do unwise things like jumping from coastal structure, or attempting to swim further than they were capable of. Almost 43% of people who drowned in 2020 had no intention to enter the water, such as those walking, with causes including slips, trips and falls, being cut off by the tide, or swept in by waves.

The key message is respect the water and don’t drink and drown.

For more information on the Respect the Water national campaign which is coordinated by the RNLI and the National Water Safety Form, plus visit: