World Drowning Prevention Day 2021

Dear members of the lifesaving family, dear Europeans

This Sunday we have an occasion to celebrate together – the first World Drowning Prevention Day in 2021 ever. But it is a day for all to think about.

Today I like to thank all our lifesavers in Europe for their activities – in Ireland, in Israel, in Sweden or in Spain. Together we are fighting for an Europe free of drowning.

Some weeks ago the United Nations General Assembly passed its remarkable Resolution on Global Drowning Prevention.

Drowning is not only a topic for Asia or Africa – it is a huge European problem too.

63 victims per day should be a strong reminder to all of us to stop this.

Over 2.5 million preventable deaths worldwide in the past decade – but largely unrecognized relative to its impact. Drowning is a silent and hidden killer.

It is the second leading cause of death in children aged 5 –14 years and the fourth leading cause among young people aged 15 – 29 years.

In the European Region, drowning causes the loss of 23.000 lives every year, not counting the victims of floods, water transport accidents, those of the refugee crisis and suicide. In addition, thousands – not rescued in time – are suffering lifelong disabilities as a result of non-fatal drowning accidents.

Ten Days ago we could experience the power of nature at the horrible flood disaster in one European region with more than 170 deaths only in Germany.

Therefore International Lifesaving Federation of Europe co-operates together with WHO Europe to assist the European countries in their drowning prevention efforts. In the main focus of ILSE are the high burden countries in Europe.

ILSE encourages all Members to review the UN Resolution on Drowning Prevention, draw it to the attention of their members, stakeholders and communities, and factor its recommendations into their plans and efforts for drowning prevention. 

Drowning is an underrecognized public health issue, that affects all countries and regions.

Drownings are preventable.

People need to be informed that drowning is a serious water safety risk, that can be reduced by lifeguards. Statistics proves: supervision by lifeguards reduces the risk for drowning extremely.

The governments and administration must act: Drowning as a public health issue needs more attention and proven drowning prevention measures need more resources.

Every child has the right to learn to swim – under safe conditions.

Everybody can help:

  • Always watch your child and neighbour around water !
  • Wear a life jacket when boating !
  • No alcohol when active on and near water !
  • Always swim at lifeguarded waterways !
  • Train safe rescue skills !
  • Act if somebody needs support !

We can all act to end drownings  –  #DrowningPrevention

Stop the death and serious injury in the Water !

Water Safety and Drowning Prevention need more regional and national attention !

Thank you for all your efforts.

Please support us also in the future !

Dr. Detlev Mohr

ILSE President


Please follow the link to see and hear the Presidents video-message

The WHO Europe published a story by colleagues at the RLSS UK

1 Comment on "World Drowning Prevention Day 2021"

  1. Frank Nolan (Ireland) | 24th July 2021 at 12:04 pm |

    It is incumbent upon every Member Country of ILS to show solidarity on this first “World Drowning Prevention Day”, thus reducing drowning and near drowning accidents worldwide!

    I am very conscious of the fact that so many countries are underdeveloped with regard to rescue and water safety education, thus with very high incidents of drowning yearly!

    We that have good regimes in place for protecting and educating the public of the inherent dangers associated with water, must strive to help those Countries in their efforts to reduce death by drowning also!

    At present, I am aware that during this World Pandemic many of our Lifesaving Classes have been curtailed due to various restrictions imposed by our Governments! Notwithstanding this fact, we can still get our Water Safety Message across to the public, through the Media, both at national level, but more particularly at Local Level!

    Naturally I am very pleased that it was through the Irish Representative in the United Nations that it was agreed to have this day marking “World Drowning Prevention Day” may it be a success!

    Remember; “Every Person a Swimmer, Every Swimmer A Lifesaver”

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