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Argyll and Bute has the worst accidental drowning rate in Scotland, a new report reveals.
The area has seen an increase in accidental drownings since 2021 and joins the Highlands and Aberdeenshire as the top worst counties in the country.
Each of them had five deaths by drowning reported last year – an increase of two for Argyll and Bute compared to 2020, says the report from the National Water Safety Forum.
The findings came at the start of Drowning Prevention Week – June 18 to June 25.
The three areas are joint fifth in the UK for accidental fatal drownings in 2021.
The Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) UK is urging those who live in and will be visiting Scotland this year to engage with its national Drowning Prevention Week campaign to make sure they have the water safety knowledge needed to enjoy a summer by the water.
The charity fears that with summer fast approaching, people will head to the waterways to enjoy the warmer weather without basic safety knowledge and even more fatalities will be seen over the summer.
Charity director at RLSS UK Lee Heard said: ‘With June, July and August proving to be the months with the most fatalities, it is vitally important everyone has an understanding of water safety.
‘We have seen a rise in the number of drownings over the last few years, with peaks during the summer.
‘In Scotland, there were 58 accidental drownings in 2021, with Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute and the Highlands accounting for 15 of those fatalities and we know that with the right water safety knowledge, accidental drownings are avoidable.
‘We want to ensure everyone can enjoy their summer break and enjoy being in or around water but be safe in the knowledge that they, and their children, have the skills and understanding about water safety, which could potentially save a life.’
As part of Drowning Prevention Week, RLSS UK has produced free educational resources on their website for children, young people and parents. Visit www.rlss.org.uk/dpw.
If you or someone else finds themselves in difficulty in the water, it is vital to
remember the Water Safety Code: whenever you are around water you should stop and think to assess your surroundings and look for any dangers; stay together when around water and always go with family and friends. In an emergency call 999 and ask for the Fire and Rescue service when inland and the Coastguard if at the coast.
‘Finally, float to live. If you fall in or become tired, stay calm, float on your back and call for help or, if you see someone in the water, throw something that floats to them and resist temptation to go in,’ said Mr Heard.