Backing Lucas’s Law – compulsory life jackets for young children

Recently I spoke in Parliament in support of Lucas’s Law – which would make it compulsory for young children to wear life jackets and swim vests when in boats or playing near boats and open water. 

I told the House of Commons how 6 year old Lucas Dobson from Deal had tragically died in the River Stour at Sandwich in 2019, while on a family day out on the river. Lucas had tried to jump from a pontoon onto a boat. Lucas had missed his footing and fallen into the water. He was not wearing a life jacket and was swept away and dragged under by the current.

I have been supporting the Lucas’ Law campaign created by Lucas’s family in 2020. Lucas’s Law would make it compulsory for young people to wear lifejackets on boats and require more life-saving buoyancy rings to be installed near rivers, lakes and seas. It would see a new safety awareness campaign for parents of young children to use float suits and swim vests when children are playing near water.

Last year, I raised the campaign with the Maritime Minister at a Drowning Prevention Parliamentary Round Table meeting. I have also pressed the Royal Yachting Association to back the campaign to make life jackets compulsory. 

I told the Commons:

“I have been working alongside Lucas’s family to raise awareness of this incredibly important issue. I have called on the Royal Yachting Association, as well as other water safety organisations, to back these life-saving plans.

“Many other countries, including America, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand already have mandatory life jacket laws. It is about time the UK put in place basic life-saving laws to protect young children near water.”

I will continue to campaign for Lucas’s Law. It’s vital that life jackets are made compulsory for young people. That way we will be able to improve water safety and save lives. Water safety awareness and education is also vital – it can just take a moment for an accident to happen near water that takes a young life.




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