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Firefighter on water rescue boat

Working with partner agencies to reduce drowning.

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?

Humberside 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:

RNLI website

RLSS website

Water safety advice

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

What to do if someone falls into deep water

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

  • 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.
  • Human nature says you are likely to want to attempt to help while rescue services are on their way. 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 a 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)

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.

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.

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

Open water swimming

Open water swimming is an increasingly popular sport and a great way for adults to keep fit whilst enjoying nature.

Taking sensible precautions will enhance your safety.

  • Swimming in a group or better still at an organised event is a safer way of starting open water swimming, never swim alone.
  • Start slowly, build up strength and experience gradually. You will develop some resistance to cold water but cold shock always remains a danger, get out before you get cold and make sure you have warm clothes to put on.
  • Never swim in canals, locks or urban rivers; flowing water can be extremely powerful and levels can rise several feet in minutes even if it is not raining where you are. Moving water will rob you of heat 250 times more quickly than still water.
  • Do not jump in, you never know what might be hidden just below the surface, if the water is very cold sudden immersion can cause a gasp reflex causing you to inhale water on contact.
  • Wear a brightly coloured swim hat and consider a safety buoy to make yourself more visible.
  • Always consider your exit point, and any emergency exits, before you get in the water.