Local MP supports children’s water safety with Swim Safe

Lifeguards News Release

Sir Roger Gale, MP for North Thanet, spent the morning learning important water safety lessons with young people on Margate beach on Monday.

RNLI/Ellen Dean

Sir Roger, a participant, Swim Safe instructor Daisy

Sir Roger joined children taking part in Swim Safe, a free activity created by RNLI and Swim England that teaches children 7-14-year-olds how to be safe in and around open water. Swim Safe is running at Margate Main Sands throughout the summer holidays.

Supervised by qualified swim instructors and RNLI lifeguards, the hour-long session involves open water safety advice and 30 minutes of in-water tuition with the instructors.

RNLI Community Safety Partner for South East and London, Guy Addington, emphasises the unique nature of open water swimming: ‘Children love swimming outdoors, but swimming in the sea, rivers or lakes is very different to swimming in a pool, where most children learn.

‘It’s essential children learn about open water safety – where it is safe to swim, how to stay safe and what to do if they get into difficulty in the water.

‘We want all children to have access to this training, so all Swim Safe sessions are funded by the RNLI and Swim England partnership and so are completely free of charge.’

The programme aims to support the UK Drowning Prevention Strategy’s aim of reducing accidental drowning by 50 per cent by 2026, to which Swim England and the RNLI are committed as members of the National Water Safety Forum.

Sir Roger Gale MP said, ‘It was fantastic to be able to go down with Councillor George Kup and take part in the Swim Safe programme at Margate beach. I learnt a lot about how to be safe in the water myself!

It’s a great opportunity to make sure our children can enjoy the water safely and sessions are completely free.’

To take part in the sessions, children must be aged 7-14 and able to swim 25 metres unaided. Sessions are running in Margate up until 30 August. To book a free place today, visit swimsafe.org.uk

Media contacts

For more information, or for interview requests, contact Julie Rainey, Regional Media Manager for London and the south east, on 07827 358 256 / julie_rainey@rnli.org.uk , Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer on 07785 296 252 or paul_dunt@rnli.org.uk or the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 / pressoffice@rnli.org.uk

About Swim Safe

Swim Safe was created by Swim England and the RNLI in 2013 to help children aged 7–14 stay safe while enjoying swimming outdoors.

From with a single scheme in Cornwall, Swim Safe has grown into a national programme spanning the UK. More than 20,000 children took part in a Swim Safe session in 2018.

This summer, Swim Safe is coming to 38 beach and inland water locations across England, Scotland, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. It is being delivered in partnership with Swim Wales and a range of local delivery partners.

Find out more at swimsafe.org.uk

About Swim England

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

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.