Learn to Swim

A guide to the Learn to Swim Programme

What is the Water Safety Code?

Water Safety

The Water Safety Code provides essential and easy-to-remember information to help people understand what they should do in an emergency, acting as a measure to educate everyone across the UK and Ireland to make early, critical decisions.





CALL 999


1. Stop and think

It is important for swimmers to know the dangers when swimming outdoors.

There are many dangers with water, which can include:

  • Hidden currents under the water
  • Cold water
  • Not being able to determine the depth of water due to poor clarity
  • Poor quality, leading to illness
  • No lifeguards to supervise
  • Uneven and slippery surfaces that present as unsafe to walk on
  • Discarded rubbish that would cause harm

2. Stay together

When swimming outdoors you must always stay together. You may be in an area that is not supervised by a lifeguard.

  • Never go alone!
  • Tell a family member where you are going.
  • Swimmers should always swim with an adult to ensure their safety.
  • By having an able adult to supervise them, swimmers will have an extra set of eyes watching for their safety and looking out for potential dangers.
  • Children should always be within arms reach of an adult when in, on and around the water.

3. Float

If you fall into the water unexpectedly – float on your back until you can control your breathing. Then, either call for help or swim to safety.

4. Call 999

If you see someone in trouble, you must tell somebody or go to the nearest telephone and dial 999. Then ask for the Fire Service at inland water sites and the Coastguard at the beach. If you are at a swimming pool, you must tell the lifeguard.


It is important to teach our children how to stay safe whilst swimming at a swimming pool and when swimming outdoors. The Royal Life Saving Society UK have activities that can be downloaded for children and adults to complete to help develop their knowledge on how to stay safe and to help them remember key information.  This information can be found below.

Activities for children aged 5-7

Activities for children aged 7-11

Resources for parents

Resources for adults