LIFE-SAVING organisations across North Yorkshire have joined forces in a bid to prevent further water-related tragedies in the county.

There have been several drownings in the region in recent weeks, most recently on Thursday when the body of 76-year-old York man Anthony Atkinson was recovered from the River Ouse at Clifton Ings.

The recent hot weather also led to a spate of tragic water incidents on beaches and in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and canals.

Now, 30 organisations in Yorkshire, including the police, fire and ambulance services, the RNLI and local councils have come together for the first time to drive home the importance of being water wise and understanding how to be safe in and around water.

Richard Flinton, Chair of North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum, said: “Open water can look very tempting, particularly on warm summer days, but it will often hide a multitude of hazards we cannot possibly see from above.

“Understanding those risks and taking a few simple steps, like knowing where is safe, sticking together, not jumping into cold water and making a point of reading any warning signs, could be the difference between life and death. "‘If in doubt stay out’ – offers food for thought for everyone.

"We are pleased to back a Yorkshire-wide campaign on this important issue.”

Since last summer, there have been at least 180 inland water incidents across Yorkshire, 18 of which resulted in fatalities.

Nationally, in just ten days from July 10, there were ten coastal deaths.

Knowing and understanding the hazards of open water – both inland and at the coast – could help to drastically reduce the number of people who get into difficulty each year.

Nick Ayers of the RNLI, said: “If you do decide to go swimming – whether in open water or at a swimming pool – and end up getting into difficulty, the simplest but most important advice is 'float to live'.

"Fight your instinct to thrash around.

"Lean back and extend your arms and legs. Float until you can control your breathing.

"Only then, call for help or swim to safety.

“If you see someone in trouble in the water, call 999 or 112. If you’re at the coast, ask for the Coastguard.

"If you’re inland, ask for the fire service.”