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Water safety

Staying safe in Surrey’s rivers and lakes

Every year in the UK, around 400 people die from drowning as a result of an accident in or around water, with thousands more suffering severe and often life-changing injuries.

Many of these accidents are as a result of simple everyday mistakes, such as a trip or fall into water, or misjudgements such as underestimating the effect that swimming in cold open water can have.

Drowning is now a bigger cause of death in Surrey than accidental house fires. Since 2010, 34 people have drowned in Surrey’s rivers and lakes, and Surrey Fire and Rescue Service has been called to more than 250 incidents.
Please enjoy the water but stay safe.

Spot the dangers

  • Very cold temperatures all year round
  • Hidden currents and quick moving water
  • Deep unknown water
  • No lifeguards present
  • Dirty water
  • Slippery and steep banks
  • Rubbish under the water

How to enjoy water safely

  • Get some training for any water based activities
  • Check the weather forecast and tides before you go out
  • Wear a lifejacket
  • Keep in touch with someone and don’t go out alone
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Ensure children are supervised by adults in and around the water

What to do in an emergency

  • Dial 999 and ask for the fire and ambulance services
  • Keep calm and float
  • Shout for help
  • If it’s safe to do so, reach a person using a stick, pole or clothing to pull them to the water’s edge. Always lie down to do this
  • Give first aid

What we do

Firefighters with specialist swift water rescue skills and equipment, rescue people from water, mud and ice. Crews can transport people and equipment to islands on the River Thames.

They are also trained to attend major flooding incidents both locally and nationally as part of a multi-agency response.

More information

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service supports the The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) Respect the Water campaign which aims to raise awareness of the potential dangers of being on or near the water. Visit RNLI's Respect the water website for information on the effects of cold water shock and floating techniques.

You can also read and hear from people who have lost a loved one as a result of drowning by visiting RNLI's Respect the water website.

On social media search #RespectTheWater.

Find out more via our press release: Surrey Fire and Rescue Service and RNLI join forces to promote water safety.

You can also download our water safety leaflet below.

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