Safety in swimming pools on holiday has recently been in the news after a heart-breaking story about a Glasgow man who drowned in a Costa del Sol pool.
The man died after diving into a pool at a villa in Marbella, Spain where he was staying with his family. A post-mortem examination showed that he died from drowning and police say there is nothing suspicious about his death which was a tragic accident.
Unfortunately we do hear many stories about accidents in swimming pools abroad throughout the holiday season and we have represented many clients injured in this way. In September last year a teenage footballer from Stevenage FC drowned in a hotel swimming pool in Ayia Napa, Cyprus. The pool was said to have been ‘littered with rubbish’ and too murky for anyone to have spotted him. Also in Cyprus, a five-year old girl died in a pool at a Protaras hotel where she was staying on holiday with her family in June 2014.
The Royal Life Saving Society UK says that around 75 UK citizens drown in holiday accidents each year. Further research by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RLSS) has found that over the last six years 30 children under the age of 10 have drowned in swimming pools on holiday abroad. A frightening statistic for any parent who is planning a family holiday in the sun.
Last year ABTA, the travel association, launched a ‘Swim Safe’ campaign in partnership with the RLSS after they found that one in five people surveyed knew someone who had got into difficulty when swimming on holiday.
The Swim Safe recommendations include brushing up on swimming skills at home before you go on holiday, get to know the layout of the swimming pool on holiday and carefully read any pool rules as not all holiday destinations employ lifeguards. Children should be supervised at all times in the swimming pool and, although no substitute for supervision, armbands should also be worn by children.
Swim Safe also recommend that you should never swim at night especially after drinking alcohol. You should also avoid swimming after a meal.
Despite following safety tips and taking care when swimming on holiday abroad many people unfortunately find that the swimming pool at their holiday accommodation is not up to scratch. The Ayia Napa pool where the Stevenage teenager drowned was believed to be filthy dirty and other holidaymakers have found the depths in their hotel swimming pools to be very unclear.
All types of holiday accommodation should provide clear depth markings if they provide a swimming pool for their guests’ use. This guidance is not just the big hotel complexes but for private villas too. Owners of such villas could find themselves on the receiving end of a personal injury claim if they haven’t provided sufficient depth markings and this causes an incident.
Joanne Berry is a Senior Personal Injury Solicitor specialising in Travel Litigation Claims at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers are experts in securing compensation in all types of holiday accident claims. Call us for a free consultation on freephone 0800 916 9046 24/7 or from abroad on +44 20 7657 155. Alternatively contact us online and let us know when and where we can call you.
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