18 People Drowned In East Anglia Waters Last Year
9 July 2015, 11:50 | Updated: 9 July 2015, 11:58
Last year 18 people drowned around Norfolk and Suffolk's coast, with many of them not even planning to get into the water before getting into trouble.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) say over three-quarters of the victims didn't even plan to get into the water.
They're launching their 2015 national drowning prevention campaign, Respect the Water, to remind people how dangerous the coast can be.
In the last five years 46 people have died around the Norfolk and Suffolk's coast.
Over half were doing things like walking, running, climbing and boating, and we're told slips and falls while walking and running contributed to 7 of the deaths (15%).
Swimming, jumping in and general leisure use of the water also lead to 7 (15%) of the lives lost, while commercial activity accounted for 8 (17%).
The RNLI have also revealed men are much more likely to get into danger at the coast than women.
Nearly two-thirds (63%) of the deaths over the last five years were men, and last year they accounted for nearly three-quarters (72%) of the region's coastal deaths.
Paul Barker, RNLI Community Incident Reduction Manager for the east, says:
'Most people heading for a stroll or run along the coastline probably wouldn't consider a drowning prevention campaign like this relevant to them as they have no plans at all to enter the water.
We're warning people that if they're going near the water, whatever their activity, they could be at risk and they need to take care.
Unexpected dangers like slippery rocks, sudden waves or unstable ground can catch anyone out.'
Paul Barker from the RNLI adds:
'The water might look inviting, but it can be dangerously unpredictable, with hazards which can be fatal if not respected. Cold water is a major risk for anyone who ends up in the water - intentionally or otherwise. The body's reaction to sudden immersion in cold water will trigger uncontrollable gasping, which can draw water into the lungs and lead to drowning. The coldness will also gradually shut down the use of limbs, making it very difficult even for strong swimmers to stay afloat.
'Currents under the surface can overwhelm even the strongest swimmers. They can drag people out of their depth so quickly, and if you try to swim against them you'll become exhausted.
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