Increase in the number of lives lost off Welsh coast last year

Latest RNLI data shows 18 people lost their lives last year, an increase from eight fatalities in 2017.

94%-of coastal fatalities in 2018 were men.

The RNLI suggests the increase in fatalities could be down to a longer, warmer summer in 2018, with visitors flocking to Wales’ beaches and coastlines.

RNLI crew

The charity is urging people to take care and following the potentially lifesaving advice outlines in their drowning prevention campaign – Respect the Water.

RNLI lifeboat

The RNLI says if somebody finds themselves in trouble in cold water they should follow the following steps:

  • Fight your instinct to swim hard or thrash about – this can lead to breathing in water and drowning
  • Instead, relax and FLOAT on your back, until you have regained control of your breathing

RNLI Community Safety Partner for Wales, Chris Cousens, says many coastal deaths can be avoided.

No one should have to lose someone they love to drowning. Many of the tragic deaths at the coast can be avoided if people understand the risks and prepare themselves by practising the Float technique. We’ve been contacted by people who say they recalled the Float safety message while in serious trouble in the water, and that following the RNLI’s advice helped save their life. But we can’t get complacent, we all have a role in getting behind coastal safety education, investing in initiatives and sharing survival skills to help save lives from drowning.


He added that it was a “worrying trend” that men are making up most of the fatalities at the coast:

“Figures show 39% hadn’t planned on entering the water, with slips, trips and falls catching them unaware while out running or walking. Knowing what to do if you fall into cold water can be the difference between life and death”.

Barmouth Beach search

The Respect the Water campaign will run throughout the summer.

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