Don't Drink and Drown

Spending time by our canals and rivers can make us all happier and healthier. Staying safe by the water is key to enjoying your time there. So we’re supporting the Royal Life Saving Society UK's campaign, which warns us all not to walk home next to water or to enter water when under the influence of alcohol.

Rochdale Canal, Manchester Rochdale Canal, Manchester

We don’t want to stop people from having a drink at one of the many bars, pubs or restaurants alongside our canals or rivers. We do however want to make sure you get home safely afterwards.

Walking home in the dark along a towpath is not the best idea, particularly if you’re on your own. If you’ve been drinking your judgement, balance and reaction to any lumps or bumps in the towpath will be impaired and the chance of ending up in the water is increased. Nearly a quarter of all adult drowning victims have alcohol in their bloodstream.

The stats

On all inland waterways (canals, rivers, docks, marinas, quarries, reservoirs), there were 366 accidental drownings involving alcohol and/or drugs in the United Kingdom between 2012-2016. That’s an average of 73 per year. 177 of these were intoxicated walkers and 42% of these people were 17-29 years old.

*All statistics are provided by the Royal Life Saving Society UK

Please read these top tips from the RLSS UK to make sure you all get home safely:

  • Look out for each other when you’ve had a few drinks and make sure you walk home with friends
  • Plan your journey home before you go out
  • Don’t walk home alongside the water after a night out. Find a better route home
  • Make sure your friends get home safely after a night out. Don’t let them walk by the water

What happened when we went live

We hosted a Facebook Live at the Aire Bar, which sits alongside the Aire & Calder Navigation in Leeds. We talked about why the Don’t Drink and Drown campaign is so important with RLSS UK, West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service and Bath Spa University. Thanks to Made in Leeds TV for the loan of their presenter.

Don't Drink and Drown

Last date edited: 16 December 2019