Water Safety

Open Water: Don't take the risk. Don't be tempted to cool off in rivers, canals or lakes. It may seem like a good idea, but it could all end in tragedy. In an emergency, NEVER enter the water to try and help a person or animal. Instead, dial 999 and use any water rescue equipment that is available.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in the UK.

We want to make people safer by making them aware of the risks and dangers when around water, what to do if they fall into water and how to help someone who is in trouble in water.

Every year, we hold a week of water safety events across Merseyside to demonstrate the dangers of water, how we rescue people from water and how people can stay safe in and around water.

We have a specialist water rescue team based at the Marine Rescue Unit at the Pier Head, Liverpool.


  • The water is cold – even on very warm days. Sudden immersion can lead to cold water shock, which can cause gasping and intake of water
  • River banks and cliff edges may be unstable and give way, particularly after bad weather
  • Depth can be difficult to estimate and debris under the water such as shopping trolleys, broken glass and cans can cause serious injury and trap you
  • You can get in, but can you get out? People often get into difficulty with steep sides and slimy banks
  • There may be hidden currents
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs when carrying out activities in our near water
  • Going to the beach? We advise you to go to a beach with a lifeguard. Be aware of which flag is flying as this will warn you of any dangers. Red and yellow flags means lifeguards are on patrol
  • If you are spending time near water - whether at home or abroad - make sure you are familiar with local safety information


  • Remember: Call, Tell, Throw
  • CALL - dial 999 and ask for the Fire & Rescue Service if inland or Coastguard if near the coast
  • TELL - Tell them to float on their back
  • THROW - Look for something that floats or that they could hold onto and throw it to them.
  • Do not enter the water yourself – you could also get into difficulty


  • Remember: Float to Live
  • Fight your instinct to thrash around – lean back and extend your arms and legs
  • Float until you can control your breathing
  • Only then, call for help, swim to safety or continue floating until help arrives
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, or get into difficulty, fight your instinct to thrash around. Instead, lean back, extend your arms and legs and float