What is Respect the Water?

Respect the Water (RTW) is the RNLI’s national drowning prevention campaign.

Around 190 people die each year around the UK and Irish coasts - and we want to change this. The RNLI has a goal to halve the number of coastal drownings by 2024 and Respect the Water is playing a key role in this.

Who is the campaign aimed at?

Current drowning figures show a clear gender divide, with men accounting for over two-thirds of those who die. So, while this campaign will be seen by millions, we are specifically targeting men - particularly those aged between 16 and 39 years, who are more likely to take risks.

What are we saying to people?

The campaign headline: 'Treat the water with respect. Not everyone can be saved' aims to emphasise why the RNLI is running the campaign, and the need for people to take responsibility for their actions around water.

The main Respect the Water safety messages inform people about the highest risks and emphasise that British and Irish waters are dangerously unpredictable.

The main risks that catch people out are:

•Unexpected entry – around half the people who drown slip, trip or fall into the water.

•Cold water shock – triggered in water temperatures lower than 15⁰C (the average temperature of UK waters is 12⁰C) - it can steal the air from your lungs and leave you helpless in seconds.

•Rip currents and waves – rip currents can travel up to the same speed as an Olympic swimmer (4.5mph) and can pull even the strongest swimmers out to sea. Unexpected waves can quickly knock people off their feet.

How is Respect the Water being promoted?

We want this year’s RTW campaign to be bigger than ever. From 9 June to 1 September, RTW adverts will be seen and heard in cinemas, on billboards, online, and on the radio around the UK and Republic of Ireland. We’re also seeking support from celebrities and trialling TV advertising on catch up TV channels during programmes that are popular with young men.