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  1. ITV Report

Family backs 'Don't Drink and Drown' campaign

18-year-old Louis Harris is thought to have drowned after a night out in Weymouth Credit: Family

The family of an 18-year-old Bath Spa University student, who is thought to have drowned after a night out in Weymouth, are supporting a major charity campaign which is set to reach more people than ever with its vital Don’t Drink and Drown message.

Louis Harris, from Dorchester, lost his life after he went missing in the early hours of Sunday, 14 February 2016 after a night out with his friends. He was last seen outside the Harbour Master’s Office, on Custom House Quay in Weymouth at 4:30am. Louis body was found four weeks later in Weymouth Harbour.

Search teams out looking for the missing teen last February Credit: ITV News

Louis’ parents, Holly and Graham Harris, are now speaking out to show their support for the Don’t Drink and Drown campaign and RLSS UK.

Since losing Louis, we have been horrified to discover just how many other young adults have died in similar, tragic, circumstances and it has moved me to want to do something about it.

When intoxicated, people are in a highly vulnerable state, many young adults finding out the limits of their alcohol tolerance, and I want to warn people of the dangers. If people prepare well before they go out and plan how to get home safely before their judgement is affected, it may avoid things like this happening in the first place.

We still don’t know exactly what happened to Louis but if I can raise awareness and support the Don’t Drink and Drown campaign, it may stop another family having to experience this terrible journey.

– Holly Harris, Mother

An inquest is yet to be held into Louis' death.

Louis’ parents are set to visit students at Bath Spa University and Thomas Hardye School, Dorset, where Louis attended, and present water safety and drowning prevention sessions.

RLSS UK’s Don’t Drink and Drown campaign this year runs from 5 – 11 December, warning drinkers to act responsibly near water after they have been drinking – and to make sure they and their friends avoid walking home near bodies of water.

20%
Of all adult victims of accidental drowning in 2015 had alcohol in their bloodstream
38%
Of accidental drowning victims aged 18-21 between 2012-14 had alcohol in their bloodstream
67%
Of accidental drowning victims aged 18-21 in 2015 had alcohol in their bloodstream
The Royal Life Saving Society wants to get the Don't Drink and Drown message across Credit: RLSS UK

Drinking near water can be dangerous and a deadly cocktail. Alcohol can seriously impede your ability to survive in water.

At RLSS UK we work hard to inform and educate people of the dangers and advise the public to never go into water when you have been drinking and always take care and be aware if you are near water.

When walking home from a night out, avoid routes that are alongside water, particularly in the darkness, and always stay with and look out for your friends.

– Di Steer, Chief Exec, RLSS UK