Northern Isles MP, Alistair Carmichael, joined the RNLI in Parliament last week for the launch of their ‘Respect the Water’ campaign which aims to raise awareness of the danger of the sea, especially during the lure of the summer months.
Mr Carmichael met members of the RNLI at the launch in Westminster to discuss the national drowning prevention campaign, and how it is playing a key role in reducing the number of lives lost at sea.
Recently released coastal fatality figuresby the RNLI show the number of deaths at the UK coast reached a five-year high in 2015, with 168 people losing their lives. The number of near-fatal incidents was higher still, with the RNLI’s UK lifeboat crews and lifeguards saving 385 lives in 2015.
Commenting after the reception, Mr Carmichael said:
“The RNLI is massively important in any coastal or island community. I am always struck by the dedication and bravery of its volunteers. When they speak to highlight an issue then we should listen.
“Around 200 people die every year in accidents around the coast of the UK. The waters are unpredictable at the best of times. What can seem like an appealing dip in the summer can quickly become a dangerous situation. Even the most confident swimmers can find themselves in difficulty.
“The RNLI’s new campaign uses the best practice of other notable campaigns like ‘Fire Kills’ and ‘Think!’. I hope it will have as big effect as those have had in the public conscience.”