Walkers and runners who enjoy their pursuits near water are being warned to be aware of potential risks to their safety.
The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) has said that this group accounts for the second largest proportion of UK drownings.
Statistics released from the Water Accident and Incident Database (WAID) show that 54 people drowned while out running or walking in 2012.
This made up 15 per cent of the 371 total drownings which occurred.
The highest category showed 110 people drowned but the reason for them being in the water was unknown.
Runners and walkers are at risk of drowning due to the nature of routes often taken, combined with the fact that these activities are often done alone.
The top three locations where people have accidentally drowned while running or walking were coasts, rivers and streams or ditches.
The society has said that walkers and runners need to be aware of their surroundings and take notice of any warning signs when out and about; when running or walking next to open water, stay well clear of bank edges which can often be unstable; try to always walk or run with a friend; always let someone know where their are going and take their mobile telephones; learn swimming and lifesaving skills.
Further information on water safety and lifesaving courses is available on the charity’s website at www.rlss.org.uk or by telephoning 01789 773994.