Swim England

A nation swimming

Swim Safe is back with thousands of free water safety sessions up for grabs

Thousands of free water safety sessions for youngsters are now available to book as the popular Swim Safe programme returns to venues across the country.

Created by the Swim England and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), Swim Safe teaches youngsters how to stay safe in and around open water – and what to do if they, or someone else, gets into difficulty.

The sessions are run by local partners and trained instructors at beaches and inland sites, such as water sports centre.

Swim Safe didn’t take place in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic but it it has delivered sessions to more than 139,000 children since its inception in 2013.

Swim England research shows that an estimated 1.8 million children missed out on swimming participation throughout the 2020-21 academic year due to the national lockdowns.

Ashley Jones, Swim England’s water safety and drowning prevention manager, encouraged parents to make sure they didn’t miss out on booking places as the sessions offered crucial advice.

He said: “The new research has really highlighted the impact of Covid and how many children have missed out on swimming lessons during the pandemic.

“Figures suggest that by the end of the 2020-21 academic year, 240,000 fewer children will be able to swim 25 metres compared to the previous academic year.

“Given the last 12 months, and with many choosing to stay local for summer breaks this year, it is even more important for youngsters to attend Swim Safe sessions, which provide crucial water safety advice.”

Build confidence in and around water

The free sessions are aimed at anyone aged between seven and 14 years old who can swim at least 25 metres. They last for approximately 45 minutes and include:

  • Interactive water safety advice for parents and children
  • Up to 20 minutes in-water tuition with qualified instructors
  • Kit for swimming outdoors, including swimming hats, wetsuits and floatation equipment.

The RNLI and HM Coastguard have recently launched their beach safety campaign urging families and individuals to choose lifeguarded beaches after a new survey has revealed that up to 75 per cent of people, aged 16-64 in the UK, plan to visit the coast this summer.

Sam Johnson, National Water Safety Partner for the RNLI, said: “We’re pleased to be able to partner with Swim England again and run free Swim Safe sessions this summer at a variety of coastal and inland locations around the UK.

“With Swim Safe sadly not running last year due to Covid, and swimming pools shut for much of that time, we’re encouraging all children between the ages of 7 and 14 to get involved and to build confidence in and around the water while learning vital lifesaving skills.

“We are expecting this summer to be the busiest ever for the charity’s lifeguards and volunteer lifeboat crews.

“In addition to children joining in with Swim Safe, we want people to enjoy the coast but urge everyone to respect the water, think about their own safety and know what to do in an emergency.

“Our main advice is to visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags.”

To find out more and book a free place, visit www.swimsafe.org.uk