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Belfast Pub Promotes Water Safety As Major Chain Adopts RNLI Campaign

7th June 2017
The RNLI and Nicholson's pub chain work together on Respect the Water The RNLI and Nicholson's pub chain work together on Respect the Water Photo: RNLI/Laura Lewis

#WaterSafety - Pub chain Nicholson’s have shown there are no half measures when it comes to water safety, after pledging the company’s support for the RNLI’s drowning prevention campaign Respect the Water.

The chain’s Crown Liquor Saloon pub on Belfast’s Great Victoria Street is getting behind the initiative that aims to raise awareness of the potential risks of being on or near water, and equip people with the skills and knowledge to keep themselves and others safe when in or near water.

Every year around 190 people drown around the coasts of the UK and Ireland. Often they have travelled from inland areas to the coast, and many of them never even intended to be in the water but accidentally slipped or tripped.

The Crown Liquor Saloon is one of more than 70 Nicholson’s pubs involved in the partnership with the RNLI. They will promote water safety messages to customers this summer via special promotions of their fish dishes, empowering staff with water safety advice to share with customers, and running additional fundraising and awareness activities.

Throughout the six-week partnership, Nicholson’s aims to raise £28,000 for the RNLI, which remains an independent charity reliant on voluntary contributions.

“At Nicholson’s we place great emphasis on the safety of our customers, but supporting the RNLI gives us an opportunity to go beyond our customers and hopefully educate a wider audience about the potential dangers of water,” said Annette Middleton, marketing manager for Mitchells and Butlers, the parent company for Nicholson’s.

The RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign aims to educate people in Belfast and across Northern Ireland about the potential dangers of water, particularly at this time of year when temperatures rise and many head to the coast to go afloat or visit beaches.

While the charity’s lifeboats and lifeguards are on hand to carry our rescues, Respect the Water aims to prevent people getting into difficulty in the first place.

Ross MacLeod, coastal safety manager for the RNLI, said: “Through our Respect the Water campaign we’re trying to change people’s behaviours to make them think about safety and take steps to safeguard themselves and others.

“It goes without saying our lifeboats will always launch to someone who is in distress - as a search and rescue organisation that will never change.

“But the phrase ‘prevention is better than cure’ rings true, and it is fantastic that such a popular chain as Nicholson’s has agreed to support us in spreading those safety messages.”

Some examples of campaign advice the Belfast pub staff will be helping to spread include:

  • Around 190 people die at the UK and Irish coast each year. Half never planned to enter the water.
  • British and Irish waters are cold enough year-round to trigger cold water shock.
  • People who fall into cold water follow the same instinct, to gasp, thrash about and swim hard. But this is the worst thing to do – it increases chances of water entering your lungs and increases strain on your heart.
  • If you fall into cold water, fight your instinct to swim hard. Instead just float until you can regain control of your breathing before then trying to swim to safety or call for help. You’ll have a far better chance of staying alive.
  • If you see someone else in trouble in the water, fight the instinct to go in yourself. Call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.

Respect the Water is at the heart of the charity’s drowning prevention work, helping achieve the RNLI’s goal to halve the number of accidental coastal deaths by 2024.

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