On November 18, RoSPA hosted its first ever-online Water Safety Conference. Focussing on current drowning prevention developments in specific reference to the recent United Nations (UN) resolution on drowning prevention, the conference provided an opportunity to look at water safety through a global, national and local lens.
More than 400 registered attendees, were given exclusive access to speaker’s pre-recorded presentations in advance of the conference. At the event, delegates had the opportunity to put their questions to a panel of water safety experts.
Covering the global perspective, attendees heard from David Meddings (World Health Organization) and Gemma May (RNLI) who provided insight into the public health epidemic of drownings and what the UN resolution means for drowning prevention in the UK and around the world.
Dawn Whittaker Chair of the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) briefed delegates about national picture of drowning prevention across the UK. Gareth Morrison (RNLI) provided an update on the NWSF’s joint and ongoing campaign: #RespectTheWater. Martin Barwood (Leeds Trinity University) discussed the systematic evaluation of documenting of UK drownings and the construction of a new Water Safety Incident Database (WAID).
Beckie Ramsay, who tragically lost her son Dylan in a fatal drowning incident more than a decade ago, shared her experience of fighting for water safety across the UK. Dr Fionna Fylan (Brainbox) provided insight for attendees on behavioural science and how this might improve water safety. There was also a presentation about using smart technology with public rescue equipment.
The live Q&A session, chaired by Dawn Whittaker, was filled with enthusiasm and questions came from many quarters. Discussions were had about a variety of topics such as changing attitudes towards water safety, updating WAID to include near misses and improving parent awareness of drowning prevention. The chair hosted an excellent session which helped to address delegate’s questions and stimulate conversation.
Additionally, attendees were given the opportunity to participate in breakout sessions run by members of the National Water Safety Forum to discuss progress towards the UK Drowning Prevention Strategy and what is needed to move forward.
Five years ago, The NWSF, set the ambitious target of cutting water-related deaths by 50 per cent by 2026 in their UK Drowning Prevention Strategy. This conference provided a timely opportunity to reflect on progress made against the aims set in the Drowning Prevention Strategy. During breakout sessions, insightful recommendations were made by delegates which will be used in the NWSF in their forward planning.
Leisure Safety Manager
You can still access the speaker’s pre-recorded presentations at the following links. We encourage you to watch these if you have not already:
- “The Water Incident Database (WAID) 2012 to 2019: a systematic evaluation of the documenting of UK drownings” – Martin Barwood, Leeds Trinity University
- “Using what we know in behavioural science to help improve water safety” – Dr Fiona Fylan, Brainbox
- “The UN Resolution and what it means for the World and for the UK” – Gemma May, Royal National Lifeboat Institution
- “Drowning Prevention as a Public Health Epidemic” – David Meddings, World Health Organization
- “Respect The Water and the NWSF’s Campaign” – Gareth Morrison, Royal National Lifeboat Institution
- “Smart Buoy – using smart technology with Public Rescue Equipment” – Kieran Murhpy, ZiggyTec and Eric Dougall, Bristol City Council – with an introduction from David Walker, RoSPA
- “Fighting for water safety, a family perspective” – Rebecca Ramsay, ‘Doing it for Dylan’ Campaign
- “Improving Data Intelligence – The new WAID” – David Walker, RoSPA
- “Five years on from the UK’s Drowning Prevention Strategy” – Dawn Whittaker, NWSF Chair