SAM Rowlands, MS for North Wales, is backing a call for children and young people to stay safe around open water.

Mr Rowlands, Shadow Minister for Health, was commenting after annual drowning statistics from the Water Safety Wales group showed a rise in accidental drowning deaths involving people aged under 20.

He said: “Everybody knows how passionate I am about children and young people enjoying the great outdoors but sadly drownings in Wales are on the increase.

“Thankfully, there are groups like AdventureSmart UK and the Water Safety Wales group who are working to increase awareness of water safety.

“I was delighted to meet some of their representatives recently at the Senedd and hear all about the great work they carry out ensuring people are prepared for outdoor activities.”

Mr Rowlands joined fellow members at an event ‘A Wales without drowning’ – our joint vision where Water Safety Wales set out its future plans and gave practical water safety demonstrations.

Water Safety Wales say too many people in Wales are drowning.

Despite their efforts, people are more likely to drown now than they were when Wales’ first ever Drowning Prevention Strategy was published three and a half years ago.

Now Water Safety Wales is calling for people of all ages in Wales to be encouraged to learn key safety tips to help children and young people stay safe around the sea, rivers and other open water.

Four people under 20 died in accidental drownings in Wales in 2022 – the highest number since comparable data became available from the National Water Safety Forum’s Water Incident Database (WAID) in 2015.

In total, there were 22 deaths in Wales from accidental drowning in 2022 across inland and coastal locations, compared with 26 the previous year.

Chris Cousens, Water Safety Wales Chair, said: “Everyone connected to Water Safety Wales was deeply saddened to hear of the tragic incidents involving young people losing their lives in open water in Wales last year.

“We believe that one drowning is one too many and the impact of losing a young person to drowning cannot be underestimated.

"People of all ages should learn and remember these four key safety tips for children and young people and adults should talk to their youngsters about them.”

Water Safety Wales supports the National Water Safety Forum’s #RespecttheWater, a collective campaign aiming to provide simple life saving advice which can help members of the public take personal responsibility for their own and their family’s safety by remembering two lifesaving tips.

The forum will also be promoting the campaign later in the summer for World Drowning Prevention Day on 25th July.

For more information about the #RespectTheWater campaign visit