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Festive party-goers in Leeds targeted in national Don’t Drink and Drown campaign

Festive revellers in Leeds are being warned to act responsibly near water during their night out, as part of a national charity’s Don’t Drink and Drown campaign.

The campaign, run by the UK’s drowning prevention charity the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), urges people not to walk home near bodies of water after they have been drinking.

The Canal and River Trust has pledged its support to the campaign and will be hosting a Facebook Live event at Aire Bar with RLSS UK and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service on Wednesday 6 December from 5pm to 6pm to warn people about the dangers of walking home near water after a night out drinking.

Last year 20 per cent of all adult accidental drowning victims in the UK had alcohol in their bloodstream*. Latest statistics reveal that 26 people drowned in Leeds in the last five years, and four were found to have had alcohol or drugs in their system.

Tom Wright from Canal and River Trust said: “Having a few festive drinks in one of the great waterside bars and pubs in Leeds is a great way to celebrate Christmas cheer.  But when you’re on your way home in the dark, please take extra care.  If you and your friends have had a few drinks, don’t walk home by water, find another route home. The Canal & River Trust is really pleased to support RLSS UK with its Don’t Drink and Drown campaign and its important message – look out for your friends and find another route home.”

District Commander for Leeds at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Russ Hepton, said: “The Fire Service is called upon year-round to carry out water rescues and the centre of Leeds is an area where we often see people getting into trouble in the River Aire.

“We have recently been working with partners to install throwlines along the bankside for members of the public to use should they come across someone stricken in the water.”

Aaron Dhanda, RLSS UK Community Drowning Prevention Coordinator for the Leeds area, said: “People tragically die each year because they’ve entered the water with alcohol in their bloodstream, either deliberately or completely by accident. Drinking near or in water can be a dangerous and deadly cocktail. Alcohol can seriously impede your ability to survive in water.

“When walking home from a night out, avoid routes that are alongside water, particularly in the darkness, and always stay with and look out for your friends.”

“We want everyone to have a great time this Christmas and our Don’t Drink and Drown campaign gives essential advice to party-goers to make sure they know how to stay safe when they’re out celebrating.”

Stay Safe this Christmas:

  • Don’t walk home near water, you might fall in
  • Look out for your friends, make sure they get home safely
  • Don’t enter the water if you have been drinking
  • Alcohol seriously affects your ability to get yourself out of trouble

Don’t Drink and Drown was launched in 2014 following a string of tragic drownings of young people. Research indicated that around a quarter of all adult drowning victims have alcohol in their bloodstream and RLSS UK were keen to prevent more tragedies by providing a strategic approach in hot spot areas.

The campaign has two targeted time frames where RLSS UK and supporters push messaging through events and social media. These are September (at the start of the new university term) and December (during the festive period).

For more information on RLSS UK’s Don’t Drink and Drown campaign –

Visit our website at

Follow us on Twitter – @RLSSUK

Follow the campaign – #DontDrinkandDrown

Visit our Facebook page –

Call – 0300 3230 096


*National Water Safety Forum Water Incident Database (WAID) of which RLSS UK is a member. Data is used from 2012-2016, 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.