AddThis SmartLayers

Regional press-backed campaign credited with keeping water deaths low

Be SafeA summer campaign backed by the regional press has helped to keep water-related tragedies down, according to lifeboat and police bosses.

Archant’s daily titles and coastal weeklies across Norfolk and Suffolk joined forces in July for the ‘Play It Safe, Be Water Aware’ campaign, which aimed to highlight the dangers posed by the seas of their patches.

Titles involved included the Eastern Daily Press, East Anglian Daily Times, Great Yarmouth Mercury, Ipswich Star and North Norfolk News.

The campaign, backed by the Royal National Lifeboat Institute and the Broads Authority, was launched after 20-year-old Radek Gina died last month after getting into difficulty while swimming in a lake at Baswey Pits park near King’s Lynn.

Discussing the campaign’s impact Nick Ayers, the RNLI’s water safety lead, told the EDP: “We prepared for the summer and the fact that it could be the busiest summer on record with families staying in the UK, which we have seen, and some of our beaches have been really busy.

“But luckily the weather has been on our side. We haven’t seen the long hot summer days that we saw last year.”

PC Paul Bassham, from the Norfolk Broads Beat team, added: “We have been really pleased.

“We don’t want to talk it up, but we really do think the safety messaging is working.  Bawsey Pits is the one fatality that we have had to deal with.”

David Powles, EDP editor, said previously: “Norfolk and Suffolk are blessed with some wonderful places to enjoy water, with miles and miles of stunning coastline and the beautiful Broads.

“However, in recent years there have been several signs that perhaps people are not fully aware of the dangers which can lay beneath and are not fully preparing themselves before going into the water.

“In 2020 we sadly saw several tragedies both on the coast and inland and already this summer there has been one tragic death of a young man.

“We want to spread more awareness to those looking to enjoy our waters and hope this campaign will do just that, plus encouraging shopkeepers and businesses in popular areas to display our specially designed posters.”