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Don't Drink and Drown

Published: 3 December 2019

Be a mate Don't Drink and Drown

People in Exeter are being warned about the dangers of walking home beside the water after a night out drinking.

Exeter City Council is backing the Royal Life Saving Society UK’s Don’t Drink and Drown campaign with the message ‘make sure nobody gets left behind on nights out’.

RLSS UK are urging revellers across the UK to stick together on a night out, after the latest statistics revealed that, more than 30% of all accidental drowning victims had alcohol and/or drugs in their system.

Grahame Forshaw, Exeter Harbourmaster, said: “Exeter has miles of roads and pathways beside waterways, with the canal, the River Exe and the nearby estuary.

“My advice for anyone who has been drinking would be to stay away from the waterside. I appreciate that this is not always possible in a city like Exeter, so advising people to stick together and not let anyone get left behind is sound advice.

“At this time of year, our waterways are very cold. If you fall or jump in, you are likely to rapidly experience cold water shock and to get into difficulty,” he added.

RLSS UK are launching the campaign with a brand new film showing how easily a fun night out can turn into tragedy, and how staying with a group and looking out for each other, can make all the difference. 


Over the last five years there have been 1,481 accidental deaths in the UK and more than 30% of the victims had alcohol and/or drugs in their bloodstream*. Many of them drowned because they made their way home alone and near water.

Robert Gofton, RLSS UK CEO, said: “It’s a sad truth that the number of drownings increase in the winter period, more often than not because of intoxication.

“Families, friends and whole communities are left devastated every year because someone walks home alone whilst under the influence and falls into the water. 

“We’re urging people to stay together on a night out and make sure everyone gets home safely and don’t let them walk anywhere, especially near water, alone. No-one gets left behind”

*Stats taken from National Water Safety Forum Water Incident Database (WAID) of which RLSS UK is a member. Data is used from 2014-2018, including accidental and natural cause records only. Adults aged 18 years+. Alcohol records are suspected or confirmed cased, based upon Coroners and emergency service records, court records. 

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