Staying safe in and around Scotland's waters


Water Safety Scotland uses the Water Safety Code. This code was developed by our members and represents the key information needed to help keep people safe around water. There are two versions: the full original version and a pictorial version.

The resources are free to download but please read our branding guidelines here.





Download leaflet



Staying safe in and around scotlands waters

Download leaflet



Stop and Think, Spot the Dangers

If you are thinking of being near or entering the water, have you considered the following?

  • Scotland’s Waters can be very cold even in the summer which can lead to Cold Water Shock, for more information visit our webpages
  • Keep off all frozen waters, they may not be able to handle the weight of a person
  • Check for any signage or flags which could warn you of potential dangers
  • Alcohol/drugs and coastal or inland waters don’t mix - they can reduce coordination and impair judgement and reaction times
  • The depth of the water may hide underwater ledges, hidden currents and unseen items
  • Be aware of other water activities that may pose a threat to you
  • If it is safe to enter the water, ensure you have a safe way out
  • If you are at the coast have you considered rip currents, offshore winds and the tide?

Stay Together, Stay Close

  • It is better to go near the water with a friend or family member
  • Float – If you are in trouble in the water, float until you feel calm…then think what to do next
  • If you fall into water, fight your instinct to swim until cold water shock passes
  • Lean back, extend your arms and legs
  • If you need to, gently move your arms around to help you float
  • Float until you can control your breathing
  • Then call for help or swim to safety.

In an Emergency, Call 999

  • If you see someone in trouble, do not enter the water
  • Look for a throw line or life ring to help whilst you wait on the emergency services
  • Call 999 or 112




A printable black and white version of code is available here.

Infographic downloads for use: