Water Safety Action Plan

New safety measures introduced to protect the public.

Extra funding, improved signs and lesson plans for pupils are all part of a new Water Safety Action Plan.

The plan has been drawn up by the Scottish Government and a range of key organisations following a number of tragic water deaths.

Partners on the Water Safety Stakeholder Group have committed to further develop partnership working to help prevent drownings and agreed a range of key actions including:

  • new water safety promotions targeted at areas with a higher risk of drowning, improved signage at popular locations including lochs and reservoirs and a risk assessment of beaches
  • additional funding of £60,000 for Water Safety Scotland to develop its co-ordination role for all organisations with an interest in water safety
  • roll-out of a drowning incident review scheme to ensure lessons are learned from all fatal and non-fatal incidents
  • lesson plans on water safety for pupils
  • continued development of the National Learn to Swim Framework delivered with local authorities
  • Scotland’s Water Safety Code developed to ensure consistency of public messages on key issues including hidden hazards and cold water shock
  • training for businesses and the public on how to use rescue equipment and review of 999 procedures

Community Safety Minister Ash Regan – who chaired the stakeholder group – said:   

“The Scottish Government takes water safety very seriously and this Action Plan includes a range of key steps agreed with our partners to further mitigate the risks from Scotland’s coastal and inland waters.

“Scotland’s beaches, rivers, reservoirs and lochs are amongst our finest natural resources, but beautiful as they are they can be a source of lethal danger and we continue to see the tragic consequences of that.

“The actions in the plan are targeted at creating a safer environment in Scotland. But whether it’s sailing, swimming, diving or fishing, anyone undertaking recreational activities in and around water must be fully aware of the risks and take every possible precaution.”

Chair of Water Safety Scotland Michael Avril said:

“We would like to thank the Minister for taking a proactive approach to the prevention of drownings in Scotland. The release of this Action Plan – created in partnership with member organisations - compliments Scotland’s Drowning Prevention Strategy.

“Today, we have published the Interim Review of the strategy and we are hopeful this, combined with the Action Plan and increased collaboration from partners, will help Scotland meet its key targets to reduce accidental drowning fatalities by 50 per cent by 2026 and contribute  to reduction of water-related suicide.”


Water Safety Stakeholder Group Action Plan

Interim Review of Scotland’s Drowning Prevention Strategy

Staying safe in and around Scotland’s waters

The membership of the action plan group:

  • Convention Of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)
  • Crown Estate Scotland
  • Her Majesty’s Coastguard (HMCG)
  • Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park
  • Police Scotland
  • Royal Lifesaving Society (RLSS)
  • Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI)
  • Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)
  • Scottish Ambulance Service
  • Scottish Canals
  • Scottish Community Safety Network (SCSN)
  • Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS)
  • Scottish Government (including Education Scotland and Marine Scotland)
  • sportscotland
  • Scottish Swimming
  • Scottish Water
  • Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE)
  • Water Safety Scotland (WSS)


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