A NEW plan has been launched aiming to cut accidental water deaths by half across Scotland.

Learning from past tragedies such as a number of drownings on Loch Lomond in 2021, the Drowning and Incident Review (DIR) was created by Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and the Royal Society for the Preention of Accidents (RoSPA).

Together with Water Safety Scotland, they want to significantly reduce the number of deaths by 2026 and lessen the risk in at-risk communities.

On average, 96 people die due to a water-related incident every year in Scotland.

Loch Lomond say four drownings in just two days in the summer of 2021.

Connor Markward, 16, died on July 23 while playing with friends in the loch near Balloch Country Park.

The following day, Edina Olahova, 29, Rana Haris Ali, nine, and Muhammad Asim Riaz, 39, died after getting into difficulty in the water off Pulpit Rock, near Ardlui.

The DIR aimed to look at the circumstances of water-related fatalities to work out how to prevent them in future.

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority are part of Water Safety Scotland and helped develop the new system.

Leigh Hamilton, Ranger Service Manager at the park, said: “As a core partner of Water Safety Scotland, the National Park Authority was involved in the development of this new system and we welcome its introduction.

"With 22 lochs, 39 miles of coastline and many miles of rivers, the National Park is a popular destination for people who want to spend time in, on or by the water.

"Ensuring they can do so safely is a priority for us and by providing us with a better understanding of the circumstances around water incidents, this new system will help inform our water safety work going forward.”

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."