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06/05/2021

Coastal Working Group: Quarterly Recap

Reflections and preparations - summer 2021

As we enter May and approach the busy summer season – ahead of a year predicted to be like no other – the National Water Safety Forum’s Coastal Group met virtually to reflect on the progress and preparations in place by all members, which will help keep the public and staff stay safe on beaches.

To name but a few highlights: The National Water Safety Forum were pleased to share the updated version of the COVID 19 beach safety guidance for local authorities, owners, managers and operators. The guidance has been developed to help mitigate drowning and water-related harm at beaches, while also covering the challenges and practical considerations of seeking to maintain social distancing at the beach. Find out more here.

HM Coastguard gave insight on how coastguard incident data is being used to support stakeholders and partners by identifying activities and locations where emergency search and rescue help is required at the coast. The data is being shared so that necessary mitigations can be taken. The update also included future plans to give HM Coastguard staff access to live data, which can be shared to inform and shape stakeholder activity and action in relation to beach safety.

 

A single national message

The RNLI presented on the #RespectTheWater brand. The group recapped on the progress and looked to the future of how the forum will apply the new brand across all organisations – an existing RNLI brand which has been refreshed and remodelled for national use. It has been designed with the aim to unify and amplify water safety messages with a single, national call to action that can be applied to both coastal and inland messaging by the forum and beyond. It will also feature in the joint RNLI and HM Coastguard beach safety campaign going live this summer.

 

Key dates, news and activities

Members also reflected on the new UN General Assembly resolution, committed to greater international efforts to prevent drowning, which also introduces the first-ever World Drowning Prevention Day (July 25). The virtual room touched upon the potential plans for the future in relation to the day and opportunities for safety messaging.

The annual, upcoming Maritime Safety Week campaign (5-9 July) – a central government initiative for maritime safety – was discussed and the potential for joined up activity and roundtables, with a particular emphasis this year on beach safety.

RoSPA reported on emerging projects including digital interventions for public rescue equipment like life rings, exploring issues and the possibility for new guidance around placement and types of equipment for various locations, plus much more.

 

The working group will meet again in early September to reflect on the summer.

 


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23/04/2021

Maintaining the safety of the public and staff on coastal beaches during COVID-19 - updated guidance

 

We are pleased to share the updated version of Maintaining the safety of the public and staff on coastal beaches during COVID-19.

Following national lock downs across the UK, April 2021 saw Covid-19 restrictions begin to ease around the country which now gives more freedom for the public to access beaches and water sport activities. The revised document is designed to sit alongside and highlight home nation plans and advice.

We would like to thank the many organisations who shaped this update by way of review and survey input and to the drafting team and those who provided case studies.

The document can be viewed here.

Feedback is welcome via the contact us form.


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14/04/2021

Easing of COVID-19 restrictions in England, April 2021

 

The government’s Spring 2021 Roadmap is a four-step plan aiming to ease lockdown restrictions across England*.

On Monday April 12, England entered into the ‘Step 2’ of the country’s ‘roadmap’ out of COVID restrictions.

*Guidance for ScotlandWales and Northern Ireland

 

What the changes mean for water and leisure activities:

Outdoor club training resumed on March 29 alongside the reopening of open-air swimming pools and open water venues.

On April 12, indoor swimming pools and aqua parks reopened and indoor club activity for under 18’s was permitted again

If you are planning to put on event, please consider the following:

 

An event can take place at Step 2 if:

  1. All three of the following conditions are met:
    a) The event takes place outdoors

    b) Attendees are expected to arrive and leave the event in a staggered manner throughout the day

    c) It does not involve attendees converging on and congregating in a site for a specific discrete performance or activity, such as a theatre or music performance, OR 
  2. It is a drive-in performance or show.

Remember that all events organised should be managed with social distancing in mind.

As with Step 1b, spectators are not permitted to attend sporting events taking place on private land, other than adults needed to supervise under-18s that they have a responsibility for or providing care or assistance to a person with disabilities participating in an organised sporting event or activity.

They should maintain social distance and not mix with other households. This does not prevent people from viewing recreational or organised sport that is taking place in a public space, e.g. a park, at Step 1b or Step 2, in groups of up to 6 people or 2 households. However, sporting events that are intended to attract spectators (including ticketed events), or events that are likely to attract a significant number of spectators (e.g. a major marathon) should not take place in a public space, or on private land, until Step 3.

Organised events guidance for local authorities in England has been published by the Government and is available to view on our Covid-19 advice page.

The advice is subject to change and the National Water Safety Forum will keep members updated.


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30/03/2021

March newsletter from the National Water Safety Forum

 

Message from the Chairman

 

This week, people across the country gathered together to mark the anniversary of the first UK-wide lockdown. We all remember the panic, fear and uncertainty that characterised the days and weeks leading up to Monday March 23 2020.

Since then, more than 125,000 of our fellow citizens have lost their lives due to the coronavirus. I  am sure I speak for everyone in the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) when I say that our thoughts are with those who have lost a loved one to this terrible disease and we will continue to do our bit to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

It is in the spirit of preserving life and protecting the public that our mission endures. I know that all organisations within the NWSF are preparing for when restrictions are lifted and we may well, yet again, see record numbers of visitors at our inland and coastal waters. I look forward to hearing about our members' dynamic campaigns and live-saving activities as we move towards the summer. We have held initial briefing sessions for a more unified water safety campaigns and messaging effort under the banner of 'Respect The Water', which the RNLI has kindly released to the NWSF and its members.

I have now submitted the NWSF's consultation report concerning the 'Review of Legal Responsibility for Beach Safety'. It will be considered by the Minister for Aviation and Maritime, Robert Courts MP, and it forms a part of the Government's wider consultation. My aim is to publish it on the NWSF website in due course, but in the mean-time I remain very grateful for the excellent range of responses i received from members.

To turn to another milestone, the National Water Safety Newsletter, which you are reading now, is celebrating its first birthday this month. We always welcome content and ideas from our members.

If you have any suggestions or feedback do not hesitate to send an email to info@nationalwatersafety.org.uk.

Until next time,

George Rawlinson
Chairman
National Water Safety Forum

 

Reminder: WAID Dashboard


View the new interactive report, which allows users to visualise water-related incidents by local authority area, as well as explore how demographic factors, such as age and gender, impact on accidental drowning and unintentional entry into open water.

The interactive report contains information relating to UK water incidents that were reported between 2014-2019.

 

'Respect the Water' workshops


The RNLI has kindly agreed to host a workshop with their marketing and water safety teams to talk you through developments, share some new resources and offer a question and answer session. The ideal audience will be members of the forums coordinating group and relevant members of your communications or marketing teams. It will cover:

Respect the water brand guidelines
Principle of use
Agreements
Future support


Look out for further details.

 

Reporting back: Coastal Working Group

 

Earlier this month, the National Water Safety Forum’s Coastal Group met virtually for the first time this year.

The focus of the meeting was on preparations for coastal safety this summer. It’s predicted that there will be record numbers of visitors at the coast this year as the weather improves and lockdown restrictions ease.

Members discussed preventative strategies and the work that has been done so far, sharing updates and future proposals:

Joint communications

This included ideas on how members can join forces and spread joint safety messages far and wide to both coastal and inland audiences to maximise reach. The key messages will include top tips and safety advice on how to stay safe at the coast together with the call 999 Coastguard emergency message.

Letter to beach owners and local authorities

The RNLI and HM Coastguard reported back on a recent collaboration. The organisations have shared a letter with beach owners and local authorities providing data and information to help support safety measures, preparations, risk assessments and planning.

Policing contributing to coastal safety

Following a presentation by Inspector Adrian Woon from Devon and Cornwall Police and his colleague Sergeant Andy Mulhern, who leads on the police led Coast Safe campaign, the group explored how policing can help push safety messages and drowning prevention activity, as well as the role they may play on a national level looking ahead.

The working group will meet again in May and will report back.

 

Water Safety Scotland update

 

Water Safety Scotland's Steering Group are currently re-invigorating subgroups with the view ahead after lockdown. Our Education Subgroup is back up and running and the Recreational Subgroup has its first meeting late in March.

The Data Subgroup have started to draft up a process for a voluntary drowning fatality review following incidents. It will be based on the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) case conferences.

The  ‘Respect The Water’ banner and unified communications campaign is a positive step for the UK and Scotland. The WSS steering group have agreed its use and all members have had time to feedback. Water Safety Scotland officially endorses the campaign.

 

RoSPA welcomes new Leisure Safety Manager

 

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has appointed a new Leisure Safety Manager, Carlene McAvoy, who will promote safe, healthy and active lifestyles as part of her work.
 
Carlene brings a wealth of experience to role having being at the forefront of developing water safety policy in Scotland for many years. Carlene founded Water Safety Scotland and was a key author on Scotland’s Drowning Prevention Strategy – two major milestones for Scotland.
 
Prior to her most recent appointment, Carlene McAvoy was employed by RoSPA as a Community Safety Development Manager (Scotland) where her brief covered accident prevention in the home and water activities so will be familiar face to many at the National Water Safety Forum.


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04/03/2021

NWSF Coastal Group update

 

NWSF coastal group: preparing for a busy summer and coastal safety

The National Water Safety Forum’s Coastal Group met virtually for the first meeting of 2021 last week.

The focus was on preparations for coastal safety this summer. It’s predicted that there will be an influx of visitors at the coast this year as the weather improves and lockdown restrictions ease.

Member discussed preventative strategies and the work that has been done so far, sharing updates and future proposals.

Joint communications

This included ideas on how members can join forces and spread joint safety messages far and wide to both coastal and inland audiences to maximise reach. The key messages will include top tips and safety advice on how to stay safe at the coast together with the call 999 Coastguard emergency message.

Letter to beach owners and local authorities

The RNLI and HM Coastguard reported back on a recent collaboration. The organisations have shared a letter with beach owners and local authorities providing data and information to help support safety measures, preparations, risk assessments and planning.

Policing contributing to coastal safety

Following a presentation by Inspector Adrian Woon from Devon and Cornwall Police and his colleague Sergeant Andy Mulhern, who leads on the police led Coast Safe campaign, the group explored how policing can help push safety messages and drowning prevention activity, as well as the role they may play on a national level looking ahead.

Other discussion included how partners in the group have supported each other, working collaboratively, to ensure training and qualifications are in place ahead of the lifeguard season, a presentation on individuals in crisis and HM Coastguard’s suicide incident support strategy, and James Scott Anderson from British Marine presented on the plans for introducing a Code of Practice for Marinas and Boatyards to improve safety in the recreational marine industry.

With the busy season just around the corner, the group will be meeting again in May.


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