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Nine in ten fatalities at the UK coast are male, says RNLI

Written by Samantha Lade, Donr

Published on Wednesday, 8th August 2018

Nine in ten fatalities at the coast are male, says RNLI

Coastal fatality figures from the RNLI have revealed that of the 109 people who died at the UK coast in 2017, 9 in 10 (91%) were male.

New research from the charity has also discovered that nearly all young men aged 16-35 (98%) would share advice with their male friends, but less than half (41%) have offered advice about safety issues.

This August, the charity is encouraging young men to share two survival skills with friends that could save their lives:

 1. If you see someone struggling in the water at the coast, call 999 or 112 immediately and ask for the Coastguard. Don't go in after them – you may get into trouble yourself.

 2. If you are in trouble in cold water, fight your own instinct to swim heard or thrash about, as this could lead to breathing in water and drowning. Instead, relax and FLOAT on your back, until you have regained control of your breathing.

Ross Macleod, RNLI Respect the Water Manager, says: 'August is a notoriously busy month on the coast, which draws groups of friends to our amazing beaches to relax and let off steam during the holidays.

'But sadly, this also means more young men getting into difficulty in the water or tragically losing their lives.'

'Our research shows 70% of young men aged 16-35 admit to having been in a dangerous or scary situation alongside their male friends, with 35% of those revealing potentially dangerous water was a factor. 

'So we’re calling on guys to be aware of the risks at the coast, and to look out for their mates by remembering and sharing key survival skills.'

Over the past 5 years, 98 people have died at the UK coast during the month of August, making it one of the deadliest months for coastal fatalities, joint with July.

If you do see a friend in trouble in the water at the coast, fight your instinctive reaction to go in after them, as this puts you at risk of getting in trouble yourself.

The best way to help is to call 999 or 112 immediately and ask for the Coastguard. You could also try and find something that floats and throw it to them.

An RNLI video also explains the key steps to floating if you find yourself in trouble in cold water.

Ross finishes: 'Stereotyping would say men don't talk openly with their mates, but our survey suggests nearly all men share advice with their friends. We believe it's important to urge more men to chat to their mates about what to do in a dangerous situation at the coast, to save more lives.

'A simple conversation may be all it takes to truly look out for your mates.'

Last year, the Respect the Water FLOAT advice helped saved the lives of seven people. The RNLI have asked people to search for #RespectTheWater and #FloatToLive to find out more information this summer.