Sisters share tragic story of brother’s drowning

Losing a family member to drowning is shocking enough, but it’s even more shocking when the person is fit, prepared and confident around the water.

Haydn Griffiths was exactly that. He was a sailor, a scuba diver, and a paddleboarder, with water safety knowledge.

In episode 93 of the RNLI’s 200 Voices podcast, sisters Megan and Brogan Griffiths share the heartbreaking story of losing their younger brother Haydn, who was just 23 when he drowned in the Irish Sea near Hoylake in 2022.

Brogan said, “There wasn’t anyone that I know that would’ve been more confident, more prepared around the water… he went swimming, got into difficulty where he felt like he couldn’t swim any further.”

At that point Haydn knew he was in trouble and he asked his friend to swim back to shore to raise the alarm and get help.

Megan said, “The emergency services were dispatched and the response from the RNLI, the Coastguard, the Fire service, the Police was within minutes. It was unbelievable and they gave Haydn every possible chance of being found alive.”

Volunteer lifeboat crew from the RNLI at Hoylake and New Brighton took part in the multi-agency search for Haydn.

Given Haydn’s physicality and experience in and around water, the heartbreaking news about his drowning was all the more unbelievable for his family. Since that day Haydn’s sisters Megan and Brogan have made it their mission to share vital water safety messages to prevent other families going through the same loss.

“Especially with him being so fit, so strong, so aware of the water it’s still unbelievable that he wasn’t found alive. And if this can happen to Haydn – with that water safety knowledge and that strength and athleticism – and the amazing response from the emergency services, RNLI and local community… if that can happen to Haydn, it really can happen to anybody.”

Megan and Brogan took part in the RNLI’s Mayday Mile fundraiser in their brother’s memory, as well as sharing his story to help educate others on World Drowning Prevention Day.

Last week RNLI Head of Water Safety, Gareth Morrison, and Water Safety Public Affairs Manager, Ross MacLeod, presented the sisters with a Letter of Thanks from the Chief Executive for their commitment to drowning prevention.

Ross said,”Haydn’s tragic story shows the sea can be unpredictable, and tragedy can happen to anyone, even those with vast experience.

“Megan and Brogan’s campaigning water safety work has been truly inspiring and we’re so grateful to them for helping share the RNLI’s lifesaving safety advice. The work they are doing will undoubtedly help prevent other families going through the same heartbreaking loss of losing a loved one.

“This winter if you see anyone in difficulty in the water call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. If you get into difficulty yourself, remember Float to Live.”

Hear about Megan and Brogan’s campaigning water safety work and the wish they have as a result of the tragedy in Megan and Brogan Griffiths: Haydn’s Legacy , wherever you get your podcasts or by visiting RNLI.org/200Voices

The RNLI’s 200 Voices podcast is releasing a new episode every day for 200 days, in the run-up to the charity’s bicentenary on 4 March 2024, exploring captivating stories from the charity’s history and through to the current day.

The charity has been saving lives at sea since it was founded in 1824 and, in that time, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 144,000 lives. Funded by voluntary donations, and with lifeboats crewed by specially-trained volunteers, the RNLI is a truly unique rescue organisation with a remarkable 200-year story to tell – many highlights of which are shared through the podcast series.

Available across all podcast platforms and the RNLI’s website, listeners can hear from survivors, supporters, volunteers, lifeguards, celebrity ambassadors, historians and many more from across the UK and Ireland – and beyond.

Image: Megan and Brogan shared Haydn’s story for World Drowning Prevention Day. Credit: RNLI/Ross MacLeod

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