RoSPA, RNLI, HM Coastguard & the Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS) launched an ongoing campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of using inflatables at the seaside.
The campaign was led by 4 different agencies RoSPA, RNLI, HM Coastguard & the Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS). These organisation teamed up to look at water safety, especially the use of inflatables at the beach. The campaign covered the whole of Scotland, but some parts of England were also covered. The inflatables campaign was and is about raising awareness of the dangers of using inflatables at the beach and also had Trading Standards purchasing and testing inflatables. The campaign targeted to beach goers who were using inflatables in the sea.
There has been an increase in the use of inflatables on beaches, not just kayaks etc. but flamingos, unicorns, pizzas, etc. From 2014 to 2019, there were 37 callouts for the RNLI, for people being swept out to sea, but this increased in 2019 to 12 over the summer months. Strong currents and coastal winds take them out to the sea meaning that they need to be rescued from the inflatable or they jump off making the rescue more difficult.
Raise awareness to the risk of taking inflatables to the beach and using in the sea and to formally research and test a number of inflatables.
This campaign was delivered in two parts. The first being a social media campaign on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. This social media campaign was shared by all parties involved. There was a press release and also a blog by RoSPA about the dangers of using inflatables at the beach.
The second part involved Trading Standards, who checked 50 retailers, online and in store and examined 270 different types of inflatables for safety and the correct labelling. Around 15 inflatables failed on safety and labelling. Trading Standards also did some spot checks at beaches where inflatables were on sale at kiosks.
The campaign was a success in that it reached over 1 million people during the first 6 months, however this has not been analysed since as it is an ongoing campaign. RoSPA are happy that the campaign reached such a large audience and continue to push the campaign especially in the summer months.
It is clear that people like inflatables and the Inflatable campaign was successful as it did spread the word that they are not be safe for use at the beach, but it has been difficult to stop beachgoers from using inflatables as there are influencers on social media who have huge followings . RNLI & Coastguard have been able to prevent deaths, but there have been some close calls. British Trading Standards need to reassess regulations.
There is a need to keep the campaign going and it had been made for anyone to add their own logo and promote. Television programmes and social media influencers also have a part to play in influencing how and why people to buy and use inflatables.
Inflatable campaign info: https://www.rospa.com/media/documents/water-leisure/inflatables-campaign.pdf
Interviewee: Carlene McAvoy (cmcavoy@ROSPA.com)
Interviewer: Josh Box (email@example.com,uk)
Author: Sandra Black (Sandra.firstname.lastname@example.org)