Swim Safe: Free outdoor swimming safety sessions return to the south west

Lifeboats News Release

Swim Safe, a national programme offering free outdoor swimming and water safety sessions for children aged 7–14, returns to the south west again this summer.

The programme was first launched in Bude, Cornwall five years ago and since then has spread to more than 20 locations across the UK and Ireland.

Swim Safe teaches children aged 7–14 how to stay safe when swimming outdoors, which is often more challenging than swimming in a pool. The programme was created jointly by Swim England, the national governing body for swimming in England, and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the charity that saves lives at sea.

The hour-long Swim Safe sessions are run by qualified swimming teachers and qualified lifeguards, supported by a team of trained volunteers. The first 20 minutes covers land-based safety and then it is into the water for practical tuition with a swimming teacher. Wetsuits, swimming hats and a free goody bag with a t-shirt are all provided. Children must be able to swim at least 25 metres to take part.

Last year more than 1,000 children took part in Swim Safe sessions at south west sites in Bude, Plymouth and Penzance.

In addition to these sites, this year, Swim Safe sessions will also be held at Weymouth Central Beach for the first time.

Klara Hegedus holidays in the south west every year with her children, 11-year-old Alex and 9-year-old Harry. The boys have taken part in several Swim Safe sessions and will be returning to the sessions in Bude this year too.

Klara says: 'The Swim Safe sessions are a fun way of teaching children vital skills. The boys enjoyed them, parents gained a feeling of confidence that their kids were safe and maybe, somewhere, a tragedy has been prevented. What is not to like? The instructors were engaging and highly professional.’

In addition to public sessions, there are school-only Swim Safe sessions at sites across the south west on various dates during the summer term, and in September. Teachers can bring an entire class to a free session.

To book a free Swim Session, visit swimsafe.org.uk then share your experience using #SwimSafe and at Facebook.com/SwimSafeOutdoors

Charlotte Francis Swim Safe Co-ordinator, for the south west, says:

‘Children love swimming outdoors – but swimming in the sea, rivers and lakes is more challenging than swimming in a pool where most lessons take place. Swim Safe helps children learn to keep safe when swimming outdoors, so they know what do if they get into trouble. And because Swim Safe sessions are free and fun, they are a great activity for children aged 7–14 who live or are holidaying in the south west.’

Since Swim Safe started in 2013 over 18,000 sessions have taken place across the UK. Now in its fifth year, the programme continues to grow and in 2017, Swim Safe sessions will take place at 20 sites, including beaches, lakes, reservoirs and other inland locations.

Media contacts

For more information please contact Carrie Garrad RNLI Press Officer, at carrie_garrad@rnli.org.uk or call 07786668847. For out of hours enquiries, please contact the RNLI Duty Press Officer on 01202 336789.

Notes to Editors

Media opportunities can be arranged at sessions at each location throughout the programme.

- Plymouth will host Swim Safe school sessions between 12 June – 7 July and public sessions on Fridays between 28 July – 1 September.

- Weymouth will host Swim Safe school sessions between 12 – 14 July.

- Penzance will host Swim Safe school sessions between 3 – 13 July and public sessions between 22 – 23 July.

- Bude will host Swim Safe public sessions between 31 July and 23 August.

Pictures and captions attached (with locations). Plymouth 2016 photos credit Nathan Williams. Penzance 2016 photos credit Stacie Nicholl.

Further pictures available on request.

About Swim Safe

Swim Safe was created jointly by Swim England and the RNLI to help children aged 7–14 stay safe when enjoying swimming outdoors. It was launched in 2013 in Bude and is now delivered to the public and schools at over 20 locations across the UK.

This year Swim Safe is being delivered in partnership with Scottish Swimming and Swim Wales. It is also being supported nationally by the Swimming Trust, and the Swim Safe schools programme is being supported by Norton by Symantec.

About Swim England

Formally known as the Amateur Swimming Association, Swim England is the national governing body for swimming in England. It helps people learn how to swim, enjoy the water safely, and compete in all aquatic sports.

Swim England’s vision is of a nation swimming and it strives to inspire everyone to enjoy the water in the way that suits them. Each month millions of people are able to enjoy swimming, diving, water polo and synchronised swimming, having been through the Swim England Learn to Swim Programme.

Swim England also supports its members, clubs and athletes, and runs qualification and education programmes to develop the workforce. For more information visit swimming.org/swimengland

Stacie Nicholl

Thousands of children have taken part in Swim Safe since it started

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Swim Safe sessions help young people stay safe when swimming outdoors

RNLI/Nathan Williams

The hour long sessions are free and fun

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Swim Safe helps children learn how to keep safe when swimming outdoors

Stacie Nicholl

Swimming in the sea, rivers and lakes is different to swimming in a pool.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or by email.