167 People Died At the Seaside Last Year, But The Biggest Killer Was One You'd Never Expect...

New study shows that action sports aren't the biggest coastal killer

drowning in the sea RNLI
Drowning at sea is becoming an increasing problem along the UK coastline

Swimming and running by the sea cause more deaths than extreme sports, according to a new report from the RNLI.

167 people died at the coast in the UK last year from taking part in everyday activities like swimming or slipping while running.

“More people lose their lives at the coast each year than are killed in cycling accidents”, said Ross Macleod, the RNLI’s Coastal Safety Manager. “We want people to understand there are risks, and that they should not underestimate the power of the sea.”

“More people die AT the coast  Each Year than in cycling accidents”

Many of us would assume that BASE jumping, paragliding or surfing would lead to a greater number of deaths. In reality, just 1 per cent of deaths were related to surfing on the coast in 2013.

A gentle swim could well be riskier, particularly when swimmers get caught in rip tides or suffer from cold water shock.

However, slips, trips and falls while walking or running account for 38 per cent of coastal deaths, while alcohol helped contribute to one-fifth of fatalities.

Surfing might not be as dangerous as you might think
Surfing might not be as dangerous as you might think

It’s the highest figure for four years. As a result, the RNLI are launching a campaign called Respect The Water to raise awareness of the dangers by the sea.

They’re transporting a punch bag filled with water around the coast to show how people will tire, but the sea never does.

So, what tips do the RNLI give to surfers and water users to help keep them safe?

- Always surf between the black and white chequered flags on a lifeguarded beach
- Get advice from an RNLI lifeguard on rip currents in the area
- Tell someone where you are going and when you’ll be back
- Always wear a leash
- Wear the right wetsuit – it’ll keep you warm and protect you from scrapes

Find out more information on RNLI Respect The Water here

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