ABP’s Port of Ipswich teamed up with Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service to stage a rescue simulation off Orwell Quay.
Firefighters from Red Brigade highlighted the dangers of inland waterways with a boat rescue demonstration, which was part of the Chief Fire Officers’ Association’s Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week.
The event was advertised to local students to raise awareness amongst a high risk group and reduce fatalities. The event was attended by about 40 students from New Suffolk College and University Campus Suffolk. It was considered a great success.
This year’s campaign is focusing on raising awareness of the issue of Cold Water Shock, which causes a number of fatalities every year as young people – even those who are strong swimmers – aren’t aware of the effect that it can have on their ability to swim in open water.
There were 224 accidental or natural cause deaths in inland waterway locations in 2013, a third of the total water-related fatalities.
Ipswich Port Manager Alastair MacFarlane said: “ABP is delighted to be working with students from New Suffolk College and University Campus Suffolk demonstrating the good relationships that exist between these near neighbours on the Ipswich Waterfront.
“It’s an issue that’s close to all of our hearts at the port, so we’re pleased to support Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service’s drive to raise awareness.
“It was a dramatic demonstration that underlines the dangers posed by inland waterways. Hopefully it will raise awareness amongst young people and make them think before taking the plunge.” He said.
Mark Hardingham, Chief Fire Officer of Suffolk’s fire service said: “The key objective of the campaign is to raise awareness of the issue and thus hopefully reduce the number of fatalities of young adults in the high risk group aged 16-30. Unfortunately these incidents happen up and down the country all too often. While on a hot day rivers, lakes, reservoirs and other inland water may look safe and inviting, but there may be hidden dangers below the surface. This week is about raising awareness of those dangers.”
The Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week runs until 19 April.