Two sisters are courageously campaigning to highlight how people can protect themselves and minimise the risks when swimming in open water.
Brogan and Megan Griffiths – the sisters of Haydn Griffiths who tragically drowned while swimming off the coast of Wirral last summer – are urging people to #StaySafeForHaydn by, among other things, respecting the water, reading any safety notices and warning flags and knowing their limits.
Their powerful message coincides with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) World Drowning Prevention Day on 25 July 2023 which serves as an opportunity to highlight the tragic and profound impact of drowning on families and communities and to offer life-saving solutions to prevent it.
Brogan and Megan recently attended an event in parliament where they met with MPs and shared their memories of Haydn who was an experienced swimmer and sailor.
The meeting heard how drowning is a serious preventable issue that affects individuals and families across the UK. Every year, many people lose their lives, or suffer serious injury, due to drowning incidents around our coastal areas and inland waters, with most fatalities occurring during the summer months.
Among those in attendance at the meeting in parliament was Wirral West MP Margaret Greenwood. Speaking afterwards, she said:
“The work that Brogan and Megan are doing to promote safety around water is incredibly important.
“The courage that they are showing to keep their brother’s memory alive and to campaign on drowning prevention is truly inspirational.
“I fully support their important campaign – #StaySafeForHaydn – which aims to raise awareness of how people can stay safe in water.
“It informs people about how they can be prepared if they encounter difficulty by being aware of their surroundings, staying hydrated, carrying their phone with them in a dry pouch, letting someone know where they are going, sticking to lifeguarded beaches and carrying a basic first aid kit.
“In any coastal emergency, people should dial 999 for the Coastguard.
“The sisters have also been working with the RNLI in Hoylake.
“I recently visited the RNLI station in Hoylake and met with staff and volunteers who are campaigning for awareness of their Float to Live message.
“Float to Live is a technique that everyone should learn about. It teaches people how to cope if they get into difficulty in the water.
“The RNLI say that if you find yourself struggling in water unexpectedly, your instinct would tell you to swim hard. However, cold water shock could make you gasp uncontrollably, meaning that you may inadvertently breathe in water and drown. Instead, the RNLI are advising people to learn to Float to Live.
“If you find yourself in difficulty in the water:
- Tilt your head back with ears submerged
- Relax and try to control your breathing
- Use your hands to help you stay afloat
- It's ok if your legs sink, we all float differently
“It is vitally important that people respect the water, that they know their limits and that they take all necessary precautions to stay safe.”
You can find out more about Haydn’s legacy as well as the important work being done by his sisters via the Facebook group ‘Stay Safe for Haydn’: https://tinyurl.com/5fpw4558
You can find information on the RNLI’s Float to Live campaign here: https://rnli.org/safety/float