Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Water Safety for Runners, Walkers and Anglers

Each year on average over 106 people a year lose their life to drowning as a result of running or walking near water and figures show on average around 55 per cent of all drowning victims were running or walking* and never intended on being in the water. 

Top water safety tips running or walking near open water: 

  • Be aware of your surroundings and take notice of any warning signs when out and about 
  • Never go into the water to rescue a dog, in nearly all cases dogs will be able to get out, don’t put yourself at risk 
  • When running or walking next to open water, stay well clear of bank edges. They are often unstable, and this can create slips, trips and falls 
  • Try to always walk or run with a friend 
  • Always let someone know where you’re going – take your mobile phone 
  • Learn swimming and lifesaving skills 
  • If you are running or walking early in the morning or late at night make sure you stay to well-lit, high traffic areas 


Although angling can seem like a harmless activity, the dangers that large bodies of water pose should always be considered before grabbing your line. Tragically we see a number of anglers lose their lives to drowning each year. So, when taking to the river banks you should keep in mind the following points:

  • Anglers shouldn't wade in water if the river has a strong current.Always wear a floatation vest when wading
  • When you arrive at your spot, consider what you will do if you fall into the water and consider where you can get out
  • Take a mobile phone to call 999 if you see someone in trouble
  • Know where you are located so that you can direct the emergency services to your area if you need to
  • Know how to perform CPR and learn some basic lifesaving skills
  • Flooded wellington boots or waders make it very difficult to move and can be a significant hazard. Do you need to wear them?
  • Be aware of local water hazards such as weirs, strong currents, slippery or undercut banks etc.
  • Always try to set up in a safe position with even ground
  • Have a throw line with you and get experience in how to use it


In the UK tides are relatively regular and predictable, yet despite this fact every year several people are caught out by rapidly rising water and end up being trapped in isolated bays. If you intend to venture across any beach or bank affected by tidal water, make sure you know when the incoming tide is expected and know where all the exits are. 

*5-year average based on figures taken from the Water Incident and Accident Database (WAID) 

Always follow the Water Safety Code. Whenever you are around water:

STOP and THINK - Look for the dangers, always read the signs

STAY TOGETHER - Never swim alone - always go with friends or family

In an emergency:

CALL 999 - Shout for help and phone 999

FLOAT - If you fall in, float or swim on your back. Throw something that floats to anyone who has fallen in

Site by Pingala Media