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'Dying for a Dip' water safety campaign

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service have recently launched a new water safety education package - 'Dying for a Dip' - alongside two new video case studies in an attempt to raise awareness about the dangers of swimming in open water in the forthcoming summer months.

Drowning is the third most common cause of death amongst young people aged between 10 and 18 and these casualties are also more likely to be male.  Over recent years firefighters and community safety staff have delivered water safety awareness sessions across the county but in the aftermath of James Goodship's incident in a reservoir in Foulridge, near Colne, last June we set about creating a comprehensive, informative and powerful education package through the use of facts, figures and emotionally-charged video case studies.  Tragically, just days before the media launch, 13 year old Miracle Godson lost his life whilst swimming in a quarry with friends.

Crew Manager Paul Rigden, from Leyland, has been heavily involved with the production of the package and explains: "Water safety has been an important subject for me personally for a number of years.  When I was five I had a drowning experience but was thankfully rescued.  That experience stayed with me as I grew up and I became interested in water rescue training and completed several swimming awards, so I consider myself to be quite experienced around water.  However when I was in my twenties on a holiday abroad, I was part of a boat trip that was going around a cove where we were expected to swim the rest of the way.  When I jumped into the water it was so cold it took my breath away and even I started to struggle, so I'm really keen to get across the dangers of swimming in open water, particularly when you consider that most of our open water sites don't get much warmer than around 15 degrees Celsius."

The education package targets teens and young adults; it is currently being delivered in some secondary schools and has recently been delivered by firefighters to the Police cadets too.  Watch manager for Nelson, Neil Hardman, said: "Hopefully by working with young people and warning them of what can happen when you swim in cold open water sites we can prevent further tragedies in future."

The package contains information slides covering various elements such as the effects of cold water on the body, the hidden dangers of water, tombstoning, the seaside, and what to do if you see someone struggling.

Another key element to the water safety campaign is the two new emotionally-charged case study videos.  Last June, James Goodship lost his life while swimming in Burwain Lake which is one of three incidents that have occurred in just 4 years.  13 year old Dylan Ramsey died whilst swimming in a quarry near Whittle-le-Woods, Chorley back in 2011 and most recently 13 year old Miracle Godson too.  Just a few weeks after the funeral, James' family approached Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service with an offer to use their story and raise awareness of the dangers of swimming in open water and have participated in two of the videos produced for this campaign.  The videos include an emotional look back at what happened that day, both from his family's point of view and that of his friends who were with him on the day, one of whom tells how he very nearly drowned along with James.

The videos are being promoted via social media networks and there are education session being delivered through the county over the forthcoming weeks in the run up to summer.  If anyone is interested in having fire crews come in and deliver as session they should make arrangements through their local fire station.

Use the links below to view the case study videos:

James' Story:

View on Vimeo         View on YouTube

James downed, I nearly did:

View on Vimeo         View on YouTube


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