ASA and RNLI initiative to offer beach safety lessons for children

25 June 2013

The ASA and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the charity that saves lives at sea, are working together this summer on Swim Safe, a new swimming and beach safety awareness programme for children.

With the majority of children who learn to swim doing so in the safe and familiar environment of an indoor pool, Swim Safe will provide children with a practical understanding of swimming in a different aquatic environment. Each session will be completely free and include in-water tuition in a tidal sea pool with ASA teachers, as well as advice from RNLI lifeguards on how to stay safe at the beach.

The initiative, for children aged 7-14 years who are able to swim at least 25 metres, will run six days a week from 29th July until 30th August at Bude Sea Pool in Cornwall and will be open to both visitors and local children. In addition, traditional swimming lessons at an indoor pool will be provided to local primary school pupils unable to swim, to help increase the number children able to be safe in and around water this summer. 

The announcement of the project comes just one month after the largest ever investigation into school swimming by the ASA found that over half (51%) of children aged 7-11 years cannot swim 25 metres unaided. This equates to over 1.1 million children in England unable to be safe in and around water.

Each year, children account for around two-thirds of incidents RNLI lifeguards respond to on some of the UK’s busiest beaches. Bude attracts tens of thousands of children and their families from across the UK each summer.

Commenting David Sparkes, Chief Executive of the ASA said, “At the ASA we believe that every child should have the right and opportunity to learn to swim. With drowning being one of the most common causes of accidental death in children, it is a skill that can save lives.

“We are delighted to be working alongside the RNLI, who support this vision and are committed to preventing unnecessary deaths in the water. The initiative will provide hands on, practical advice and expert tuition to help children stay safe in and around water this summer.”

Ross Macleod, RNLI Coastal Safety Manager, said, “The aim of the Swim Safe programme is to improve children’s swimming abilities and their confidence in the sea, which is a very different environment to a pool. We’ll also be helping them understand how they can keep safe at the seaside. We’re hoping this programme will equip children with valuable knowledge and skills so they can have fun but stay safe in and around the sea.”

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