Locals and visitors encouraged to stay safe and clear of the water this December

Communities, especially young men in East Sussex and Brighton and Hove are being warned to be cautious near the water whilst celebrating over Christmas and New Year.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is supporting the national Don’t Drink and Drown campaign, run by the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK).

Residents and visitors are being urged to make good choices, look after one another and make sure that after Christmas festivities routes home, away from the water are selected.

Over the last five years there have been in excess of 1400 accidental deaths in the UK, and more than 30 per cent of the victims were found to have alcohol, drugs or both, in their bloodstream; Young men are one of the highest risk groups.

Dawn Whittaker, Chief Fire Officer for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and National Fire Chiefs Council Water Safety Lead said:

“People tragically die each year because they’ve entered the water under the influence, sometimes deliberately or more often, completely by accident. Alcohol and drugs can seriously impede your ability to survive in water. If you’ve had a drink, stay away from the water.

“Most people who drown when under the influence, have done so by falling in whilst walking alone near water. This year, more people are likely to be drinking at home and so we are urging people to consider their actions when heading home. #BeAMate.

“We are all looking forward to enjoying some level of festivities this year, and we’re asking for ‘guardian angels’ to stand up and be counted; if somebody is leaving your house when under the influence then make sure they have a safe route home.”

Don’t Drink and Drown was launched in 2014 following a string of tragic drownings of young people. The campaign has two targeted time frames when alcohol-related drownings have shown to be particularly high. These are September (at the start of the new university term) and December (during the festive period).

This year, RLSS UK aims to continue to drive down the rate of alcohol-related fatalities in, what are usually, completely avoidable tragic incidents.

The Charity are pushing their #BeAMate message by encouraging people to:

1. Stay safe

2. Plan a safe route away from water

3. Look after one another

For more information and free digital resources on RLSS UK’s Don’t Drink and Drown campaign, visit www.rlss.org.uk .