The number of people who drowned in Scottish waters increased to almost 100 last year, according to latest figures.
Data from the National Water Safety Forum shows there were 96 drownings in 2019, up from 78 in 2018.
Of the drownings in 2019, 37 were the result of accidents or natural causes – which is down on figures from previous years.
A total of 35 were classified as suicide, a crime was suspected in three cases while no information was recorded in 21 incidents.
It comes as a review is published into how the country is performing against Scotland’s Drowning Prevention Strategy, published by Water Safety Scotland (WSS) in 2018.
It aims to reduce accidental drownings in Scotland by 50% by 2026, and contribute to a reduction in water-related suicide.
The WSS report said progress is being made through measures such as an increase in the number of local authorities with water safety policies but more work needs to be done.
Michael Avril, chairman of WSS, said: “We’re disappointed about the increase in the number of water-related deaths in 2019 because the fact is that each one is preventable and has a devastating impact on the loved ones and communities of those who have died.
“As lockdown restrictions start to ease, we’re urging everyone to pay careful attention to and stick to the new rules to ensure they are safe when undertaking any exercise or leisure activity on or near our country’s coastline and waterways.”
Community safety minister Ash Denham said: “The Scottish Government takes the issue of water safety very seriously and wholeheartedly supports the work of Water Safety Scotland (WSS).
“We will continue to work closely with WSS and key partners to explore opportunities to progress initiatives that will help reduce deaths from accidental drowning.”
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