As river deaths increase, the RNLI are warning Londoners to be more careful by the water

By Rachel Bishop on August 20, 2014 8:00 AM |


As deaths on the tidal River Thames have reached the highest point in four years, the RNLI are warning people to be careful - especially as more people enjoy the river in the summer months.

As part of its The Respect the Water campaign the charity announced that in 2013, 15 people lost their lives in river-related incidents - with 20% of these incidents involving alcohol.

Over the past four years 34 people have lost their lives in this stretch of river - with men accounting for 82% of these figures and 21% attributed to slips and falls while walking and running along the river's edge.

River-related deaths or injuries often increase in the summer months, with more people spending time by the river or choosing to jump in to cool off.

Guy Addington, RNLI coastal incident reduction manager for London, said: "A significant amount of accidental fatalities could be attributed to alcohol.

"One of the strongest messages for people near the river is just be sensible if you are planning on having a drink on a hot day. In the summer the number of people that end up in the river due to alcohol is much higher.

"The problem with alcohol is that people tend to lose their inhibitions and then entering the water seems like a good idea, but even the strongest of swimmers can suffer because of unpredictable and strong currents that flow way faster than nearly everybody can swim.

"Also even in the height of summer the river can still be incredibly cold and there are plenty of obstacles that could seriously harm you if you swim into them.

"We also find that people sitting by the river have suddenly gone over the steep side and fallen onto the river's edge, so we just want to remind people to be more careful."