Respect the water
Although our lifeboat crews and lifeguards save hundreds of lives, there are still around 160 lives lost at the coast every year. We know that we need to stay focused on the core lifesaving service that saves hundreds of lives each year, but if we want to change these statistics, we also need to build on our preventative work that protects countless lives from serious incidents.

Respect The Water

The RNLI has a goal to halve the number of coastal drownings by 2024. Respect the Water is the RNLI’s national campaign that puts drowning prevention at the heart of everything we do. We’re aiming to make it the nationally recognised water safety campaign in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

This campaign will reach millions of people, but we are primarily targeting men aged 16-39. This is the group that accounts for the largest number of coastal fatalities each year.

We’re also targeting specific groups of people who enjoy activities like scuba diving or angling, or those who make their living on the sea, such as commercial fishing.

For more information and to see for yourself a visit


What is a community Lifesaving Plan?

We are working to better prioritise activities by the level of risk the pose. By evaluating all casualties through a mathematical model called DRI (Deaths, Rescues and Injuries) we are able to calculate which activities have the highest risk and are most likely to lead to a fatality; it is on this information that the Community Lifesaving Plan has been based.

A community Lifesaving Plan consists of:

  • Key statistics reporting incidents, fatalities, rescues and lives saved.
  • A profile of who makes up the community
  • Insight into the activities people participate in and which present the most risk.
  • Information on what the community is doing to reduce those risks
  • Details of who is involved and key partners

Eastbourne Community Lifesaving Plan

It is fair to say that we are in the early days of this process and the intention is that the plans evolve as time moves on but they give us an initial steer as to where to focus our attention.

For Eastbourne the top three priority activities in terms of risk are as follows:

  • Sailing – as in Yacht Sailing. Eastbourne has a large Marina that is home to a significant number of sailing yachts; consequently, yachts feature quite heavily in the rescue statistics for Eastbourne Lifeboat. The RNLI team in Eastbourne have, for a number of years, carried out very good work in order to improve attitudes and behaviour amongst participants in this activity; we’re keen that this not only continues but is increased.

For individual and confidential safety advice on a one to one basis aboard your own vessel – now known as the Advice on Board Scheme contact the Eastbourne Sea Safety Officer on 07860362367 or use the contact facility on the home page of this web site

For more safety advice please visit our website

  • Swimming – has been identified as the second riskiest activity along the coast around Eastbourne. It will be necessary to roll out the Respect the Water campaign in a significant way around the area.

For more safety advice please visit our website

Sub aqua diving – will be targeted when the suite of intervention products and programs are available.

For more safety advice please visit our website

It is important to acknowledge that the majority of lives that are lost in this area are as a result, tragically, of self-harm and suicide. As an organisation we are currently scoping for how we might respond to this situation.

Coxswain Mark Sawyer along with some volunteer crew and members of the RNLI Sea Safety Team went along to ‘Splosh’, an event organised by Sovereign Harbour Berth Holders Association. It gave members the opportunity to have their life jackets inspected before taking it in turns to jump in the pool fully clothed and see how their life jackets inflated and supported them in the water. They were then able to see a life raft inflated and given the opportunity to recover themselves from the water into the life raft.

Although undertaken in a controlled environment this exercise showed how difficult this could be in a real life situation out at sea. This session was enjoyed by all those who attended and benefitted greatly from the advice and help given.

Respect the water screen