A TOTAL of 150 people have died in accidents in the waters along Scotland's coast in the past four years.

Some 39 people lost their lives in 2013, with adult men accounting for more than two-thirds of the coastal deaths. Slipping or falling while walking or running along the coast accounts for one fifth of the deaths while 13 per cent were due to diving accidents.

Across Britain, last year's figure was the highest in four years, with 167 people dying in water-related accidents in 2013. A further 368 were rescued by lifeguard crews after getting into difficulties.

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Michael Avril, the RNLI's community incident reduction manager in Scotland, said: "With more people losing their lives at the coast each year than are killed in cycling accidents, we're trying to make people, particularly men, realise they are at risk from drowning if they don't follow some basic but important safety advice.

"Of course we want people to go to the coast and enjoy it - we're lucky to have an exceptional coastline around Scotland - but we want people to understand there are risks, and that they should not underestimate the power of the sea."

He said cold water shock was a particular hazard for people in Scotland, with the sea temperature cold enough year-round to trigger the potentially fatal condition.

England rugby player James Haskell, supporting the RNLI's safety campaign Respect the Water, said: "This is about being smart and safe when you are there. The water is the opponent that never tires, so make sure you're never put to the test."