Water Safety Action Plan

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at on 20 April 2022.

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Ash Regan:

The 2018 to 2026 drowning prevention strategy is a collaborative piece of work between Water Safety Scotland and its members, and the strategy is complemented by the stakeholder action plan that I launched last month. Both approaches are informed by an appreciation of the challenges of open-water swimming, which are very different from those of indoor pools because of the risks that are posed by currents, obstacles and, importantly, cold-water shock.

A key focus has to be on education and raising awareness, and both documents set out the work that is being done in that area. There is always value in practical experience, which is why one of the actions that the action plan identifies is for a sub-group of Water Safety Scotland to review the scope for developing expanded opportunities for young people to experience being safe in open water environments.

The Scottish Government has enhanced the funding that is available to RoSPA, which supports Water Safety Scotland, so that such work can be progressed as quickly as possible. In the meantime, relevant authorities are undertaking a range of site-specific work—for example, the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority’s water safety campaign will highlight the importance of wearing buoyancy aids or life jackets when participating in all water sports and focus on being visible in the water for open water swimmers.