Avon Fire & Rescue Service is reminding students new to the area that they should take care of each other during nights out and avoid going near rivers and water.
With many students arriving in both Bath and Bristol, the fire service is encouraging them to find out more about their #MatesMatter campaign to help them stay safe while at university.
A group of friends walking home along the river is a common sight, with people being urged to make sure everyone gets home safely from a night out.
Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in the UK, and the River Avon in Bath has claimed several lives in recent years.
Meghann Elvin, Children and Young Persons Manager at AF&RS, said: “Water safety is a huge concern for us, and sadly we see too many young people getting into difficulty in the water after a night out.
“We’re reminding students new to the area, and those moving back, to remember that #MatesMatter.
“In all aspects of life, we work as a team – whether in work, as a family or in our friendship groups – and we want people to keep that mentality on a night out.
“While we all want the best for our mates, sadly individuals often get separated from their group or leaving alone at the end of the night.
“This fresher’s period we’re reminding students to look after their friends around the water. Taking a different route home to avoid the water can ultimately save lives.
“We want to see unnecessary water-related injuries come to an end, but we can only do that if we all work together and think #MatesMatter on every night out.”
The Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) is also working to share the important water safety messaging, reminding local people #DontDrinkAndDrown and encouraging smart decision making while intoxicated around the water.
RLSS UK’s Charity Director Lee Heard, said: “Starting University can be an exciting time full of so many possibilities and new experiences! As much as we encourage students to make the most of university life, it’s still important to keep safe while having fun.
“Often having a good time is accompanied by alcohol, which in moderation, is fine but when taken excessively, it can leave you unaware of what you are doing.
“One less frequently spoken danger of that are the risks of walking by a canal or river when in a seriously drunk state.
“Over the years, many young people have sadly drowned, and research has found a quarter of these to have had alcohol in their system at the time. Although it may sound simple, keeping yourself and friends away from water after a night out can be enough to save lives!”
To find out more about how to stay safe around water, visit Avon Fire & Rescue’s water safety page here.