The role of the Forum is to be the natural body in which organisations involved in water safety will participate in order to have a strong voice with Government on water safety issues. The Forum is primarily concerned with preventative action; it also advises and comments on legislation but is not directly involved in regulatory or enforcement activity. The Forum's work is managed by the Coordinating Group.
The Core of the Forum's work is formed by the six specialist advisory groups, which are each comprised of a small number of people with a breadth of relevant knowledge. The advisory groups address issues commonly on a sector basis, but often work across their membership to deal with an issue.
The six specialist advisory groups are:
- Beach Safety
- Inland Water Safety
- Sea Safety
- Swimming Safety
- Water Sports Safety
- Information & Research
More information on how the groups work, their governance and projects in hand can be found in the members' area.
The National Water Safety Forum Coordinating Group is made up of the chair (or nominated representative) from each of the six Advisory Groups, a member of the inter-departmental Government group, a member of the Maritime Safety Coordinating Committee, a co-opted member from the Scottish Accident Prevention Council and an independent.
The functions of the Coordinating Committee include:
- To provide the direct link with the Government and the Search and Rescue Sector through the interdepartmental group.
- To be the overall steering group of the forum.
- To monitor, and where appropriate, advise on programmes of work developed by the Advisory Groups.
- To manage the role of the Information Gathering and Analysis group.
- To ensure effective communication between the Advisory Groups.
- To manage the relationship between the Forum and other national and regional water safety committees.
- To assist in the setting up of task-based working parties, drawing membership from across the Advisory Groups as and when required – e.g. on education initiatives or product design.
- To manage the relationship between the Forum and Government bodies.
- To ensure transparency in the workings of the Forum.
- To provide reports to the Government and to each individual Advisory Group of the Forum's activity.
The chair of the Coordinating Group is George Rawlinson - Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The secretariat is provided by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. For more information see members' area.
The Beach Safety Advisory Group has representation from coastal local authorities and national organisations with a safety remit along with some Government agencies. More information is available about its projects, membership and how to become involved. The Forum's Beach Safety Advisory Group provide information and resources on the safe management of beaches.
The chair of the Beach safety Advisory Group is Chris Payne, Pembrokeshire County Council. The secretariat is provided by Surf Life Saving - Great Britain. For more information see members' area.
Since the formation of the Forum, the Association of Inland Navigation Authorities Safety Issues Group (AINA SIG) has acted as the Inland Waters Advisory Group. As the Forum has developed it has become evident the range of activities and issues covered within inland waters is wider that that provided by the current group. Consequently, the role and membership of the Inland Waters Group is under review.
The current chair of the Inland Waters Advisory Group is Tony Stammers, Canal & River Trust. For more information see members' area.
The Safety on the Sea Group acts as the Sea Safety Advisory Group in the Forum. The Group was set up to coordinate safety messages for sea users, primarily aimed at the public but also including the commercial fishing industry.
Group secretariat is the RNLI.
The chair of the Sea Safety Advisory Group is Will Stephens, Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The secretariat is provided by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. For more information see members' area.
The group is made up of organisations that are concerned primarily with the delivery of swimming activities in swimming pools and those that contribute towards the provision of swimming activities for the community at large.
The chair of the Swimming Advisory Group is Jon Glenn, British Swimming. The secretariat is provided by British Swimming. For more information see members' area.
Water sports take place in a wide variety of environments; at sea, at the beach, on lakes, in rivers and streams and in swimming pools. The list of water sports that people engage in is very extensive and their popularity is ever increasing. The National Water Safety Forum aims to highlight the risks involved in water sports and to encourage participants to get adequate training and education to reduce the likelihood of injury.
The chair of the Water Sports Safety Advisory Group is Jim Watson, British Sub Aqua Club. The secretariat is provided by The Sport and Recreation Alliance. For more information see members' area.
The National Water Safety Forum is endeavouring to bring together in one place, information about incidents, casualties, and fatalities in water. The Forum is also working towards improving the quality of information and data available enabling it, for the first time to develop strategies and policies based on statistics and research. The information group has been tasked with the role of enabling the forum to meet these goals.
The chairmanship of the Information Group is currently being reviewed. For more information see members' area.