RNLI and RLSS UK add water safety focus to the 2018 Scottish Learning Festival

Lifeboats News Release

With a summer that saw more tragic losses of life to drowning in Scotland now behind us, the RNLI and Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) look set to bring water safety education to the fore, at this week’s Scottish Learning Festival (SLF).


RNLI youth education is fundamental in the aim to end preventable loss of life at sea

Taking place at Glasgow’s SEC across 19 and 20 September, the SLF is the only national, annual conference for the teaching profession in Scotland.

With a 2018 festival theme of ‘collaboration for improvement’, the RNLI and RLSS UK will provide dual-branded, joint collateral, lifesaving expertise and uncomplicated, easily accessible water safety education for pupils.

A theme shared by Senior Youth Education Manager Carol Raeburn, as she delves further into the importance of water safety; ‘No matter where a young person lives in Scotland, they are only 50 miles from the sea. The WHO (World Health Organisation) states that death by drowning is the third most common cause of accidental deaths in young people. There are 46 lifeboat stations in Scotland, but prevention is better than cure.’

With the expectation of more than 4,500 delegates expected through the doors again this year, the importance to relay the vital safety messages of the RNLI and the RLSS UK is something Carol is looking to capitalise on;

‘At the RNLI our dedicated team of Youth Education staff and volunteers are committed to saving lives by equipping young people with the safety messages they need to make safer choices when near water, whether that be a river, loch, pond or the sea. That’s why we are at the Scottish Learning Festival again this year previewing our Water Safety Workshops, our new resources for teachers and youth group leaders and promoting our free school presentations delivered by our volunteers.’

Given the fact that you are never more than 50 miles away from the sea, no area in Scotland is excluded from the educational requirement of water safety. With bespoke education content for children of all ages, the RNLI will look to showcase this and deliver messages to festival goers throughout the event.

Following on from the launch of Scotland’s drowning prevention strategy back in January of this year, RLSS UK’s Volunteer and Community Operations Manager, Kenny Macdermid explains why being involved in this event, plays a crucial part of that strategy;

‘We already know that Scotland has disproportionately high rate of accidental drownings for the UK. Being a part of the Scottish Learning Festival provides a unique opportunity to network with those professionals in the education sector, that can make a real difference to the learning, advice and messages about water safety that Scottish young people receive and it’s so easy to get involved. Our Drowning Prevention Week campaign is a great way of getting young people switched on to water safety; the resources are free, and the sessions are approved for Curriculum of Excellence use.

Kenny continued; ‘This year’s SLF theme is ‘collaboration for improvement’ and that summarises perfectly why we’ve teamed up with the RNLI to pool our expertise. I’m optimistic that our presence here will make it clear, just how easy and simple, incorporating vital, lifesaving messages into the Curriculum for Excellence can be.’

Water Safety Scotland (WSS) is an alliance of organisations (including the RNLI and RLSS UK) who are committed to drowning prevention, their drowning prevention strategy has two key aims: to halve the number of accidental deaths by drowning by 2026 and to make significant inroads, in reducing water-related suicide.

It is hoped that the event will highlight not only the dangers of the water in and around the UK but will spark the thoughts of these delegates to continue and expand on the key safety messaging needed to educate our youth and contribute to ending preventable loss of life at sea.

Notes to the editor

Link to event website - https://www.slfexhibition.com/

Wednesday 19 September – 9am – 5pm

Thursday 20 September – 9am – 4pm

Link to RNLI Youth Education messages; https://rnli.org/youth-education

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.

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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.