A NEW system has been launched with the aim of reducing the risk of death by drowning off Ayrshire's coasts.

The Drowning and Incident Review (DIR), created by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), in partnership with Water Safety Scotland (WSS), is being hailed as a "world first".

The organisations will work closely together to learn lessons from, and carry out detailed analysis of, any accidental water-related incident.

It aims to reduce accidental drowning deaths by 50 per cent by 2026 and lessen the risk among the highest risk populations, groups and communities.

Until now, the circumstances in many water-related fatalities have been unknown and the risk factors are unclear.

On average, 96 people lose their lives due to a water-related fatality each year in Scotland.

The principal aim of the DIR is to gather all relevant data and information in order to systematically review each accidental water-related incident, with a view to preventing a future occurrence.  

The review has been piloted extensively and evaluated in the British Medical Journal's Injury Prevention publication.

The benefits of DIR are anticipated at both local and national level in Scotland.

It will provide insight into water-based risks by local area, ensuring that those best placed to mitigate these risks are involved in the process and kept informed.

Nationally, the enhanced data capture is anticipated to lead to the development of better-informed national strategies to tackle the issue of drowning prevention.

Carlene McAvoy, leisure safety manager of RoSPA and founder and secretariat of Water Safety Scotland, said: “DIR has been specifically created for Scotland and is one of the first of its type in the world.  

"It will be used as an important tool in Scotland to enable learning from incidents and mitigate the risk of future incidents.

"This supports the overarching aim of Scotland’s Drowning Prevention Strategy, to reduce accidental drownings by 50 per cent by 2026.”

James Sullivan, station commander at SFRS and chair of Water Safety Scotland, added: “DIR provides a clear and consistent format for partners to review water related incidents and gain an understanding of contributory factors. 

"This enhanced knowledge will enable a focussed approach to be taken on preventative measures both locally and nationally throughout Scotland."

The DIR process goes live this week and can be used via Water Safety Scotland for any accidental water-related fatality.