381 too many... says the Maritime and Coastguard Agency

There were a total of 381 drownings and water-related deaths the UK in 2013, according to a report

published today by the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF).

This compares to 371 water-related deaths in 2012, and 407 in 2011.

As in previous years, fatalities at the sea, on the beach or shoreline

accounted for nearly a third (115), while a further 22 deaths happened at

harbours, docks, marinas and inland or coastal ports.

More than half of the deaths (227) in 2013 were

in inland waters, such as tidal and freshwater rivers, lakes and


Eight deaths

occurred in the bath and six in swimming pools, while three happened in

areas that are not normally watercourses such as marsh and flooded land.

The figures, which are published by the NWSF,

include deaths in water that resulted from natural causes such as a

heart attack, drowning or other fatal injuries resulting from falls into

water and those that occurred during the course of water-based


The NWSF’s Water Incident Database (WAID) reveals that in 2013, the age group with

the highest number of fatalities (31) was males aged between 20-24.

Meanwhile, 0-19s accounted for 12 per cent of deaths (46), of which

more than half were teenagers aged 15 to 19 (27). In the youngest age

bracket of four and under, 10 children drowned.

The peak summer months of July and August witnessed the most deaths

with 106 during this period. The leading activities were: people

walking alongside water and falling in, swimming (predominantly in open

water), and tombstoning – jumping into open water.

There were 260 deaths in England, 56 in Scotland, 41 in Wales and 11

in Northern Ireland. In England, the South West (53) and the South East

(50) regions had the highest number of deaths.

The full UK regional

breakdown is as follows:

  • Scotland (56)
  • South West (53)
  • South East (50)
  • Wales (41)
  • North West (39)
  • Eastern (36)
  • Yorkshire and the Humber (20)
  • West Midlands (20)
  • London (16)
  • East Midlands (14)
  • North East (12)
  • Northern Ireland (11)
  • At sea (7)
  • Isle of Man (3).

Jim Watson, deputy chairman of the NWSF, said: ‘Although the number

of accidental drownings and water-related deaths has remained consistent

in recent years, there should be no room for complacency, particularly

as we enter the warmer summer months and more people are drawn to the


‘We encourage people to enjoy the UK’s waters, but to make sure they understand the risks and come home safely.’

A full copy of the UK water-related fatalities 2013 report can be viewed at: www.nationalwatersafety.org.uk/waid/info/waid_fatalincidentreport_2013.xls.

WAID was developed by NWSF members, including: national partners –

Canal and River Trust, British Sub Aqua Club, Maritime and Coastguard

Agency, the RNLI, RoSPA and the Royal Life Saving Society; sports

governing bodies; and regional and local organisations, including

Cornwall Council. It was developed in partnership with the Department

for Transport.