East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is highlighting some simple ways to help anglers keep safe.
It is supporting Drowning Prevention Week from the Royal Life Saving Society UK (19-26 June 2021).
Its mission is to help everybody enjoy water safely, by giving them new skills and knowledge.
Angling is hugely popular and we see lots more people enoying our coast and waterways as the weather improves. Sadly we know that accidents can happen and we would urge people to take extra care.
• Check the forecast and weather conditions before you go.
• Make sure you let someone know where you are going to fish.
• Make sure you know exactly where you are - consider something like an OS locate app for a smartphone such as What3Words or a map.
• Take a fully charged mobile phone and check signal strength, know how to use it and who to call in an emergency.
• Double check your fishing spot as river banks can erode, which can make them give way without warning.
• If you are allowed to wear waders always check depth with a long pole and wear a life jacket.
• Never go out in a boat wearing waders or without wearing a life jacket, make sure the life jacket is the right size to keep you afloat.
What to do if someone falls into deep water...
• The first thing to do is call for help - straightaway. Call 999, if you are near the coast ask for the coastguard, if you are inland ask for fire service and ambulance. The emergency services will need to know where you are. Accurate information can save precious minutes. If you have a smart phone and have location services or map tool enabled such as What3Words, this can help. If not look around for any landmarks or signs – for example bridges will often have numbers on them which can identify their location.
• Don’t hang up – stay on the line but try and continue to help the person if appropriate. When you have made this call shout for help from anyone who might be close by.
• Never enter the water to try and save someone. If you go into the water you are likely to suffer from cold water shock which will leave you unable to help even if you are a strong swimmer.
• Can the person help themselves? Shout to them ‘Swim to me’. The water can be disorientating. This can give them a focus. Keep any instructions short clear and loud. Don’t shout instructions using different words each time.
• Look around for any lifesaving equipment. Depending on where you are there might be lifebelts or throw bags – use them. If they are attached to a rope make sure you have secured or are holding the end of the rope so you can pull them in. Be mindful that if the water is cold the person may struggle to grasp an object or hold on when being pulled in.
• If you manage to get the person out of the water they will always need medical attention.