RNLI Swim Safe sessions in Fermanagh hailed a great success

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI’s Swim Safe programme arrived in Fermanagh last weekend (Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September) to offer children the opportunity to learn vital water safety skills for free.

The first Swim Safe Session held at the Share Centre, county Fermanagh

RNLI/Niamh Stephenson

The first Swim Safe Session held at the Share Centre, county Fermanagh

The programme was run in the Share Centre in Lisnaskea, county Fermanagh with trained instructors sharing water safely advice with over 160 children.

The fun, hour-long sessions are devised to teach young people how to swim safely outdoors and what to do if they, or someone else, get into difficulty in the water. The sessions are run by qualified swimming instructors and lifeguards, supported by a team of volunteers and give children:

  • Up to 30 minutes of practical, in-water tuition led by qualified instructors
  • Essential open water safety advice
  • A free Swim Safe goody bag take home

The programme was brought to Fermanagh by Belcoo man Damien McHugh who is involved with the RNLI through his role as Chairperson of Fermanagh GAA Health and Wellbeing Committee. The RNLI and the GAA are currently in a partnership to help prevent drowning and to give young people life-saving water safety advice through club talks with volunteer ambassadors.

Commenting on the Swim Safe weekend Damien said, ‘It was fantastic to see so many young people signing up for the free water safety sessions. When I learned about Swim Safe through my involvement with the RNLI / GAA life-saving partnership, I knew that the Share Centre would be the perfect location to hold it. I want to thank them for coming onboard and making it a great success.’

‘I also want to thank everyone who supported this programme and signed up at short notice. I know that the children involved learned vital life-saving advice and skills, and I hope that they go on to share that advice with their friends and families.’

Ashley Jones, RNLI Swim Safe Manager, says: ‘We were overwhelmed by the response to the Swim Safe session in Fermanagh. It was a little later than we normally hold them, and we had a shorter sign-up time. However, many of the sessions were booked out and the others were near to capacity. That is a lot of young children learning new skills.’

‘We hold these sessions outdoors as the environment is very different to swimming pool, where most children learn to swim. 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.’

All Swim Safe sessions are funded by the RNLI and Swim England partnership and are completely free of charge. This year was the first time Swim Safe was run on inland waters in Northern Ireland. The RNLI operate two lifeboat stations on Lough Erne at Carrybridge and Enniskillen.


Media contacts
For more information, please contact: Niamh Stephenson, RNLI Ireland Media Manager on 087 1254 124 or [email protected] or Nuala McAloon, RNLI Ireland Media Officer on 087 648 3547 or email [email protected] or Mike Carhart-Harris, Public Relations Manager (Campaigns), RNLI, on 01202 663168 / [email protected]

Stormy Stan and Damien McHugh, Chair of Fermanagh Health and Well-Being Committee at Swim Safe

RNLI/Niamh Stephenson

Stormy Stan and Damien McHugh, Chair of Fermanagh Health and Well-Being Committee at Swim Safe
RNLI Swim Safe on Lough Erne

RNLI/Niamh Stephenson

RNLI Swim Safe on Lough Erne

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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