Inland drowning accidents prompt West Country safety warning

People are being urged to learn key rescue techniques after 226 people lost their lives in drowning accidents last year.

Of those drownings in the UK, more than 60% of them happened at inland water sites, rather than the coast.

Launching this year’s #RespectTheWater campaign, the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) is urging people to avoid ‘Double Trouble’.

This means disregarding your gut instinct to take the plunge and try to rescue someone who is in difficulty.

Quarries are just one place where water hazards can cause problems for people.

Paul Pounsford, from the Mineral Products Association, said: "All too often people feel they should try and jump in and help rescue someone.

"But we'd really urge them to stay on the shore. Call 999 and if it's an inland water, ask for the Fire and Rescue Service. If they're on the coast, ask for the Coastguard."

Adel Avery works at the Somerset Earth Science Centre, which is based beside Moons Hill Quarry in Stoke St Michael, Somerset.

Staff there teach the community, especially school children, about what goes on in one- water safety being an important part of that.

Adel said: "The messaging is about taking that home to parents and the children are often very good at telling the parents that when places aren't safe, especially the old quarry sites we have in the Mendips.

"They're very attractive places to go swimming. People think they're natural places they should swim.

"But they don't understand how deep that water is and how cold it is and the dangers of it, even if they're good swimmers."