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Victoria Dock

Working with partner agencies to reduce drowning and serious injuries.

The Humber region is dominated by a long stretch of coastline and a large dangerous tidal river splitting it in two. Follow this basic advice to stay safe in and around water, whether it be the sea, a lake, a river, or a reservoir:

    • If you are going out on your own, let someone know where you are going and when you are coming back
    • Obey any warning or safety signs
    • Look out for trip or slip hazards around water and stick to proper pathways
    • Remember river banks and cliff edges may be unstable and give way
    • Don't fool around near water, especially if you have been drinking – look out for each other and raise the alarm if you see someone in trouble

What to do if someone falls into deep water

The first thing to do is call for help – straightaway. Call 999.

Use What3Words App to help emergency services find you.

    • The emergency services will need to know where you are. Accurate information can save precious minutes. If you have a smart phone and have location services or map tools enabled this can help. If not, look around for any landmarks or signs – for example bridges may have numbers on them which can identify their location.
    • Don't hang up – stay on the line but try and continue to help the person if appropriate.
    • When you have made this call shout for help from anyone who might be close by.
    • Never, ever enter the water to try to save someone. This usually ends up adding to the problem.
    • If you go into the water you are likely to suffer from cold water shock which will leave you unable to help even if you are a strong swimmer.
    • Can the person help themselves? Shout to them 'Swim to me'. The water can be disorientating. This can give them focus. Keep any instructions short clear and loud. Don't shout instructions using different words each time.
    • Look around for any lifesaving equipment. Depending on where you are there might be lifebelts or throw bags – use them. If they are attached to a rope make sure you have secured or are holding the end of the rope so you can pull them in.
    • If there is no lifesaving equipment look at what else you can use. There may be something that can help them stay afloat – even an item such as a ball can help.
    • If you manage to get the person out of the water they will always need medical attention – even if they seem fine, drowning can occur at a later stage if water has already entered the lungs.

The Safe Code

Keep your family SAFE around water, learn the code:

S - Spot the dangers

A - Take advice

F – Go with a Friend of Family member

E – Learn what to do in an Emergency

For additional water safety advice - The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK)

What do we do?

We have a dedicated team of qualified officers who deliver water safety packages across our Service area, we also work in partnership with Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) to deliver joint water safety initiatives.

Why is this important?

The Humber region has a significant length of coast and also numerous inland rivers and lakes. We want people to enjoy the water safely and we are fully committed to preventing drowning incidents from happening in the first place.

In order to do this more education is needed, not just in schools but also through engaging with the public in awareness campaigns, so that people fully understand the risks and are better prepared.

For further information and advice, please visit:

Cold water shock

The effect on the body of entering water 15°C and below is often underestimated. This shock can be the precursor to drowning.

Visit the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) website to find out more on why cold water shock is dangerous and how to deal with cold water shock and minimise the risk:

RNLI - Cold Water Shock

Walkers, runners, cyclists and water safety

Follow these simple steps to minimise your risk around water:

  • When running next to water stay back from the edges, pay attention to your footing and beware of trip hazards. Wear appropriate footwear.
  • Don’t walk or run when river levels are high, or extreme weather is expected.
  • Avoid waterside footpaths in the dark, if you do use them and use a hands free light, such as a head torch.
  • Carry a charged mobile phone with you.
  • Dogs can usually only swim for short bursts, keep an eye on your dog and don’t let them swim if old or tired.
  • If river levels are high or fast flowing keep dogs on a lead, their swimming abilities will be no match for a fast flowing river.
  • Never enter the water to save a dog in difficulty, they will usually self-rescue and it is extremely difficult to handle a panicking animal whilst in the water.

Fishing and water safety

We have some suggestions to help you stay safe

  • Check forecast and weather conditions before you go
  • Make sure you let someone know where you are going to fish
  • Make sure you know exactly where you are – consider something like an OS locate app for a smartphone or a map
  • Give them an idea of when you are likely to return
  • Take a fully charged mobile phone and check signal strength, know how to use it and who to call in an emergency
  • Double check your fishing spot. Is it safe? For example, riverbanks can erode and just because it was safe one day doesn’t mean it still is
  • Always dress appropriately, sturdy footwear, sun hat in hot weather, warm layers in the cold
  • Coastal and sea fishing is particularly high risk
  • Make sure you know your spot is safe and you won’t get cut off by the tide
  • Expert evidence suggests that many of these lives would have been saved if the casualty had been wearing a lifejacket – Wear a lifejacket

Beach safety

Beaches and coastlines are great places to enjoy a range of watersports and other activities. Which activity you’re taking part in, take responsibility for your safety by making sure you are prepared for the conditions and properly trained.

If you see someone in difficulty, don’t attempt a rescue – tell a lifeguard, or dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.

  • Always swim at a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Make sure you understand and obey any safety flags at the beach and pay attention to the lifeguard, if there’s one on duty.
  • Check the weather and tides before setting out.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you’ll be back.
  • Don’t drink alcohol before going in or on the water.
  • Keep in touch – take some means of communication with you, like a mobile phone or a whistle.

Dog walking and water safety

Make sure you and your dog are safe when walking near water

  • Avoid throwing sticks or balls near water for dogs - they will go after it if they think you want it back even if you've thrown it too far or into dangerous water.
  • Never enter the water to try and save a dog - the dog usually manages to scramble out.
  • Even dogs that like swimming can usually only swim for short bursts - keep an eye of your dog and don't let it enter the water if it's older or tired.
  • If your dog loves the water keep it on a lead and make sure you have control to prevent it jumping into hazardous or unsafe areas.
  • Remember the wet riverbanks, steep edges or jagged rocks can make it hard for a dog to scramble out and be a slip risk for owners.
  • Don't lean into water and try and lift your dog out - you can topple in.
  • Dogs can have cold water shock too.
  • If your dog has struggled in the water it may have inhaled water and should see a vet as dogs can drown after the event if water has entered the lungs.

Drinking and water safety

Don’t Drink and Drown

Statistics show that Saturday nights have a higher number of drownings than any other night of the week. Many drowning victims are under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol reduces inhibitions and can mean you take more risks.

  • If you’ve been drinking stay out of water.
  • Open water can become very cold just a few feet under the surface and can cause cramps or Cold Water Shock.
  • Alcohol will impair judgement and control.
  • It’s likely to be dark and night time so fewer people to see you in distress.
  • Stay with your group and don't wander off if you become separated.
  • Keep an eye on any friends who are worse for wear and make sure you help them home.
  • Avoid walking near water even if the path is lit, you may not realise how unsteady on your feet you are.
  • In the dark you may not see trip hazards of even the water's edge.
  • If you fall in after drinking your chances of being able get out of the water are decreased as alcohol impairs even simple movements.
  • Make sure you store a taxi number in your phone and some emergency money at home so you can pay. If the money is at home you can't lose it or accidentally spend it.

Cold weather advice

Bodies of water which freeze when the temperature hits zero and below may look like fun places to play, but can become potential death traps for those who venture onto the ice.

Lakes, ponds and certain stretches of rivers may look as if they will support the weight of people or animals, but sadly that is not always the case. The added hazards are the slippy banks and the ice cold temperature of the water should an incident occur.

Please follow these simple tips to stay safe this winter around frozen bodies of water:

  • Avoid walking or playing too near the edge - icy or wet conditions could cause you to slip and fall in
  • Don't be tempted to test the thickness of the ice; it's easy to slip from the bank and fall through into the freezing water
  • Make sure your children understand how dangerous it is to play on ice
  • Adults should set a good example by staying off the ice themselves
  • Dog owners should ensure they keep their pets on a lead so they are not at risk of falling in
  • Don't risk your own life to safe a dog - they often get out themselves
  • In the event of anyone falling through the ice - phone 999 immediately and give the precise location of the incident.

If you see someone fall through the ice:

  • Shout for assistance and send for the emergency services - call 999 or 112 - it's a free call from any phone
  • Stay off the ice
  • Shout to the casualty to keep still
  • Try and reach them from the bank using a rope, pole, a tree branch, clothing tied together or anything else that extends your reach
  • When reaching from the bank, lie down to avoid being pulled onto the ice
  • If you cannot reach them, slide something that floats like a rescue buoy across the ice for them to hold on to stay afloat
  • If the casualty is out of reach, wait for the emergency services while calming and reassuring them

After the casualty has been rescued from the ice:

  • Make sure the ambulance is on its way
  • Lay them flat, check their breathing and pulse and begin resuscitation if necessary
  • Prevent them from getting colder by putting them in a sleeping bag or covering them including their head, with blankets or spare clothing
  • Get them under shelter out of the cold
  • Until the casualty is in a warm place do not undress them
  • Do not rub their skin, apply hot water or give an alcoholic drink
  • Keep them wrapped up so that they warm up gradually

If you fall through the ice:

  • Keep calm and call for help
  • If no help is available spread your arms across the surface of the ice
  • If the ice is strong enough kick your legs and slide onto the ice
  • Lie flat and pull yourself to the bank
  • If the ice is very thin, break it in front of you and make your way to the shore
  • If you cannot climb out, wait for help keeping as still as possible
  • Press your arms by your side and keep your legs together
  • Once you are safe, go to hospital immediately for a check up.

The Humberside area is dominated by a long stretch of coastline and a large dangerous tidal river splitting it in two.

Follow this basic advice to stay safe in and around water, whether it be the sea, a lake, a river or reservoir:

  • If you are going out on your own, let someone know where you are going and when you are coming back
  • Obey any warning or safety signs
  • Look out for trip or slip hazards around water and stick to proper pathways
  • Remember river banks and cliff edges may be unstable and give way
  • Don’t fool around near water, especially if you have been drinking – look out for each other and raise the alarm if you see someone in trouble