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PW 0204 Marketing strategies that help to reduce drownings by changing skills, attitudes and behaviours
  1. Roger Sweeney
  1. Irish Water Safety, The Long Walk, Galway, Ireland


The author outlines the practical, innovative marketing interventions that were used over the last ten years to contribute to a twenty six percent reduction in drownings and a change in public skills, attitudes and behaviours so that aquatic environments are enjoyed with confidence and safety.

The population in Ireland is exposed to a wide range of hazardous aquatic environments, putting most of the population at risk of drowning at some stage in their lives. Effective drowning prevention campaigns require specific targeting of at-risk groups within this population. A particular emphasis is placed on marketing interventions that encourage child safety. The author also outlines the methods that have been successful in promoting public safety media campaigns and also the partnerships with local and national government, university researchers and corporate entities that have partnered to change the skills, attitudes and behaviours of adults and children at risk of drowning.

Overcoming the challenge to educate a demographic that is not necessarily interested in learning swimming and lifesaving, with safety promotion initiatives that encourage them to learn water safety best practices will also be outlined. Marketing collaborations that successfully deliver water safety information into the local community will be outlined as will related media initiatives.

Although drowning continues to be a serious public health issue in Ireland, the current annual average drowning rate in each of the last ten years is twenty six percent lower than the annual average in each of the previous forty years. The author will describe the safety promotion initiatives that have engaged the public in those last ten years during which we have seen this reduction in drowning fatalities.

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