The National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) is a UK-focused, voluntary network, working together in order to reduce water-related deaths and associated harm.
The NWSF was established in 2004 following a Government review into water safety. It sought to bring together a number of pre-existing national groups with the ambition of creating a ‘one-stop shop’ for the prevention of drowning and water safety harm in the UK, recognising the broad range of existing stakeholder groups, their respective contributions, and their own brands and values, often towards charitable objectives.
The NWSF has developed into a broad network that serves a number of purposes, for a variety of organisations. The creation of the Guiding Principles for Water Safety Management, Water Incident Database (WAID) and UK Drowning Prevention Strategy 2016–2026 (UK DPS), coupled with the depth of specialist insight and open exchange of knowledge within the network have created a strong national platform for a coordinated and collaborative approach to reduce drowning and water-related harm in the UK.
Oversight and direction of the Forum is provided by the Coordinating Group (CG) which, is comprised of representatives from each Advisory Group (AG) together with co-optees and a representative from government agencies. Its members elect the chair of the Coordinating Group. The Forum is hosted by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
The core of the Forum's work is formed by the Advisory Groups (AG), each comprised of a small number of people with a breadth of relevant knowledge. Membership of an AG is by invitation based on the person's potential to contribute rather than whom they represent. The current standing groups are:
- Coastal - Chaired by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA);
- Inland - Chaired by the Environment Agency;
- Swim - Chaired by Swim England;
- Recreation - Chaired by British Sub-Aqua Club;
- Evidence and Insight (WAID) - Chaired by the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK).
In addition to these there are a number of aligned groups, these include: National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), water safety practitioners group, Water Safety Scotland and Water Safety Wales. Aligned national organisations include: The Royal National Lifeboat Institute, Maritime & Coastguard Agency, Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and the Royal Life Saving Society UK. The aligned groups and standing groups represent approximately 100 national organisations, including those with significant number of visitors and land holdings.