National Water Safety Forum

The National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) is a UK-wide association of organisations that have interests in and responsibilities for water safety including sports governing bodies, rescue services, regulators, navigation and harbour authorities, local government, utilities, and other representative groups.

The Forum works in partnership with Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) who provide technical and administrative support. The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) is a member of the NWSF, as are some 80 local authorities. 

The Forum was established in 2005 to provide a single point of contact for water safety advice, expertise and information.

The Forum’s work is divided between six specialist advisory groups covering: beaches; inland water; the sea; swimming; water sports and information/research, all report to a coordinating committee. 

The Forum has produced the UK Drowning Prevention Strategy 2016-26, which aims to reduce drownings by 50 per cent by 2026. Launched in February 2016, the strategy was endorsed by the then Transport Minister Robert Goodwill MP. 

The Forum’s membership structure is currently the subject of a project aimed at introducing graded levels of membership which recognise the contributions made to the Forum's work and the involvement in its running. 

The Forum has produced the UK Drowning Prevention Strategy 2016-26, which aims to reduce accidental drowning fatalities in the UK by 50 per cent by 2026, and reduce risk among the highest risk populations, groups and communities.

The Strategy's initial three-year phase will address the following targets:

  • Every child should have the opportunity to learn to swim and receive water safety education at primary school and where required at Key Stage 3;
  • Every community with water risks should have a community-level risk assessment and water safety plan;
  • To better understand water-related self-harm;
  • Increase awareness of everyday risks in, on and around the water;
  • All recreational activity organisations should have a clear strategic risk assessment and plans that address key risks.

The NWSF also provides the Water Incident Database (WAID) designed to provide comprehensive information on risks from water-based activities.