East Northamptonshire Council is showing its support of Drowning Prevention Week with a reminder to stay safe near water and to look after the lifebelts along the River Nene.
Running this year from 20 to 28 June, the national campaign, led by the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) UK, aims to reduce the number of drowning and near drowning incidents that occur in the UK every year, by showing people how to be safe near water.
Drowning is the third highest cause of accidental death of children in the UK and many more suffer injury, some life changing, through near-drowning experiences. As well as teaching children and adults how to be safe near or in the water, people are also reminded not to play with lifebelts designed only for saving lives.
Steven North, Leader of East Northamptonshire Council said:
"Last year we challenged under 18s to design a message or a picture to make a vandal or thief think twice before messing with lifebelts at locks and weirs. It was the first competition of its kind in the UK and saw over 270 entries submitted. The nine winning designs can now be seen in lifebelts along the River Nene and we’re delighted to report that the messages seem to be helping prevent vandalism and theft. We hope this will continue as we head into summer which is traditionally when more people use the waterways."
Environment Agency Waterways Team Leader, Sue Cant, added:
"We believe that the lifebelt posters are having a positive effect. With the exception of a few locations, we haven’t had to replace as many missing or vandalised lifebelts along the River Nene since the posters were installed and we continue to monitor their effect. Boaters tell us that they love the bright colours and strong messages portrayed on the posters and that they see them as a very positive and innovative approach."For more information about RLSS, the drowning prevention charity, visit the RLSS website or follow them on Twitter.