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VIDEO: The campaign to help keep kids safe on the coast

VIDEO: The campaign to help keep kids safe on the coast

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 7:31am 17th June 2018. (Updated at 9:20am 17th June 2018)

Coastguard crews across Cornwall are backing a new campaign to help keep us safe on the Duchy's coast.

Drowning Prevention Week is trying to get more children to learn how to stay safe in the water.

18 people lost their lives across the south-west last year, down from 33 the year before.

Although worryingly, the RNLI says more than half did not expect to end up in the water.

Officials say that over 700 people drown in the UK and Ireland every year and many more suffer injury, some life-changing, through near-drowning experiences.

Cornish lifeguard and RNLI Community Safety Partner, Steve Instance, says seven people found the 'float to live' advice helped save their life.

He said: "Losing someone to drowning is a shattering experience, so I am very pleased several people said the RNLI's Respect the Water 'float' advice helped them survive in a dangerous situation in the water last year.

"I'm also encouraged by the 2017 south west coastal fatality figure as it is lower than in previous years.

"We are hopeful that our safety campaigning and education work has contributed to a reduction in coastal deaths, but we cannot get complacent.

"It's vital we all keep sharing lifesaving advice to ensure last year's reduction becomes part of a long term downward trend in coastal fatalities. One drowning, is one too many".

"Worryingly, all of the deaths at the south west coast in 2017 were men, with many of them ending up in the water unexpectedly. It clearly highlights much more must be done to help men keep themselves safe around the coast".

What is cold water shock?

Anything below 15°C is defined as cold water and can seriously affect your breathing and movement, so the risk is significant most of the year.

Average UK and Ireland sea temperatures are just 12°C. Rivers such as the Thames are colder - even in the summer.

Cold water shock causes the blood vessels in the skin to close, which increases the resistance of blood flow. Heart rate is also increased. As a result the heart has to work harder and your blood pressure goes up. Cold water shock can therefore cause heart attacks, even in the relatively young and healthy.

The sudden cooling of the skin by cold water also causes an involuntary gasp for breath. Breathing rates can change uncontrollably, sometimes increasing as much as tenfold. All these responses contribute to a feeling of panic, increasing the chance of inhaling water directly into the lungs.

This can all happen very quickly: it only takes half a pint of sea water to enter the lungs for a fully grown man to start drowning. You could die if you don't get medical care immediately.

What should I do if I end up in the water?

The RNLI has released a new 'Float to Live' advice video, ahead of the big summer getaway.

These five things could save your life...

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