RNLI urges people to ‘Respect The Water’

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The RNLI is launching a hard-hitting campaign this summer to make people aware of the dangers of using the Scottish coastline.

The charity’s aim is to reduce the number of drownings.

Coastal fatality figures released last week by show 24 people lost their lives around Scotland’s coast last year – but two-thirds didn’t even set out to enter the water.

The number of near-misses was even higher, with the RNLI’s lifeboat crews in Scotland saving 51 lives in 2014.

The RNLI is aiming to halve the number of coastal deaths by 2024. The charity’s national drowning prevention campaign, Respect the Water, is this year warning people – particularly adult men – to be aware of the dangers of the coastline, as well as the water itself.

Susan Leiper, of Stonehaven RNLI, has described the figures as shocking.

“Stonehaven Lifeboat Station is committed to supporting ‘Respect the Water’, the biggest ever national drowning prevention campaign launched by the RNLI.

“The facts speak for themselves and are shocking; with five year figures showing an average of 35 people losing their life each year in Scotland.

“Astoundingly, most people didn’t intend on entering the water with slips and falls contributing to most of these deaths by people who were walking or running near the coastline.

“Automatically you would think it would be people out on the water for instance, sailors, divers or canoeists who are most vulnerable, but that is not the case.

“I think the message is simple and clear, any activity near the water needs to be undertaken with care.

We have a stunning coastline here in Stonehaven but on reading this campaign material, it reinforces just how hazardous it can be. “

She added:

“Of course we want people to enjoy the beautiful environment around them but to be aware of the potential dangers too.”

Those interested in finding out more about the dangers of the coast can visit the Respect the Water website and see for themselves at www.rnli.org/respectthewater.