Two charities join forces to help keep children safe in and around water

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI and The Andrew Simpson Foundation (ASF) are excited to be working together in 2019 to deliver water safety messaging to thousands of young people.


Andrew Laws, RNLI Youth Education Manager, and Richard Percy, CEO of the Andrew Simpson Foundation.

The Andrew Simpson Foundation is continuing the legacy of Andrew “Bart” Simpson, an Olympic sailing champion and America’s Cup Sailor who tragically died in 2013. Andrew passionately believed that everyone should have the chance to try sailing and enjoy the benefits that it brings. The Foundation’s work is driven by the belief that all young people have the ability to excel and succeed in life and that the challenges of Sailing and Watersports can help in this by promoting health and well-being while building essential personal skills.

ASF provides opportunities for everyone to get out on the water; this is achieved by delivering a range of key charitable activities, further enabled through fundraising and partnerships.

The Andrew Simpson centres are where the organisation’s Community Sailing Programmes take place. They also operate as regular watersports centres on a not-for-profit basis, with all surplus income invested back into the foundation.

There are several Community Sailing Programmes – one of which is ‘Discover Sailing’; this is where the partnership with the RNLI comes in. Discover Sailing is a mass participation programme whereby hundreds of young people visit each centre to experience sailing for the first time. Local school children are offered a ‘taster’ sailing session for £5 and are then given the opportunity to continue sailing through the watersports centres.

In 2018, a water safety element was added to the taster sailing sessions delivered in Portsmouth; this is now being rolled out to the centres in Reading and Dorset. The water safety element of the sessions focusses on the RNLI’s youth safety messaging which is based on extensive research into the four key steps that young people can take to keep themselves safe when in around water. As well as receiving relevant instruction from the tutors, all young people will also take home a 14-page RNLI booklet which reinforces the learning and allows the youngsters to share the safety messaging with their friends and family.

The RNLI’s youth safety messaging focusses on four key points:

1) STOP AND THINK – what dangers can you see?

2) Don’t be caught out on your own – STAY TOGETHER

3) If you fall in, stay calm and FLOAT TO LIVE

4) If someone’s in trouble, CALL 999 or 112 and tell them that someone’s in trouble in the water

Andrew Laws, RNLI Youth Education Manager for the South East, said, “The RNLI is delighted to be partnering with the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation. Working with another charity to spread water safety messages is a great way to help keep young safe in and near the water. The teaching and resources provided to the young people taking part in the ‘Discover Sailing’ programme could one day save a life.”

For more information about the Andrew Simpson Foundation:

For more information about the RNLI’s Youth Education work:

RNLI media contacts:

Andrew Laws, RNLI Youth Education Manager,

Aaron Gent, Portsmouth RNLI Press Officer, 07947537108,

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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and 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.