National Water Safety Forum


Membership and structure

Since 2016, the Forum has prioritised efforts towards those activities which contribute to the delivery of the UK drowning prevention strategy.

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 work of the Forum is shaped by its agreed principles for managing water related risks.

The Forum's work is overseen by the coordinating group, whilst its work is shaped by the advisory groups. Each compromise 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. Each group and its membership operate on a voluntary basis. A number of the groups provide a duel or pre-existing function in addition to coordinating activity through the Forum.

Coordinating group

The coordinating group consists of a chairperson acting in an independent capacity, and the following members; the chair, or nominated representative, from each the NWSF advisory groups; a representative from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency; a representative from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents; a representative from Water Safety Scotland; a representative from the National Fire Chiefs Council; a representative of the Maritime Safety Coordinating Committee; a co-opted member from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution; a co-opted member from the Royal Lifesaving Society UK. 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.

Coastal safety advisory group

The coastal group was established in 2017 and works to contribute to the targets of the UK drowning prevention strategy by focusing multi-agency action on water safety and prevention. The group brings together key stakeholders that aim to make a difference, by helping save lives around the coast. Working together to raise awareness of the risks, taking action to inform the public to keep people safe whilst participating in leisure activities on the coast.  This group includes the membership from the former Safety on the Sea and National Beach Safety Group. It provides the liaison point for regional beach and coastal safety forums. The group is chaired by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, who also provide the group secretariat.

Inland water safety advisory group

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 group is chaired by The Broads Authority.

Swimming advisory group

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 group is chaired by British Swimming who also provide the group secretariat.

Watersports safety advisory group

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. It seeks 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.

Water Incident Database (WAID) group

The WAID group brings together the principle data providers for the service in order to improve collection, insight and assurance. Members act as the liaison point for WAID within their organisations.