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RNLI Swim Safe sessions return to Portobello Beach

Lifeboats News Release

RNLI lifeguards will be delivering free Swim Safe sessions at Portobello Beach on the Saturday 9 September 2023, after the charity revealed that children account for more than a third of RNLI beach lifeguard rescues during the summer.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has revealed that 7,010 children* were aided by RNLI lifeguards during the summer last year.

The latest statistics show that more than a third of those requiring help were aged 7 to 14 – up by almost 600 (9%) on the year before – with the charity’s beach lifeguards saving the lives of 25 children across the UK and Ireland.

To help keep children safe at the coast, the RNLI and Swim England are running free ‘Swim Safe’ sessions. Since Swim Safe was established in 2013, more than 160,000 children have been taught vital water safety skills.

Swim Safe is a free, fun outdoor swimming session that teaches young people how to be safe in and around open water.

Young people aged 7-14 are invited to take part in a practical session to improve their swimming ability and help them feel more confident in the water.

The next Swim Safe session in Scotland is taking place at Portobello Beach in Edinburgh on Saturday 9 September.

RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor, Iona Hamilton said: ‘The free Swim Safe sessions are a great opportunity for children to learn about keeping safe in and around the water during the summer holidays.

‘By educating them about water safety from a young age, together we can reduce the number of incidents involving open water.’

Swim Safe equips children with vital skills that could save their lives, this knowledge then helps reduce the number of incidents in the water. The hour-long sessions are designed for young people that can already swim 25 metres in a pool.

The RNLI’s key water safety advice for 7-14 year-olds is:

  • Stop and think – Always swim in a safe place
  • Stay together – Always swim with an adult, younger children should always be within arms reach
  • Float – If you find yourself in trouble in the water, float on your back like a starfish
  • Call 999/112 in an emergency and ask for the Coastguard

Notes to editors

  • To find out more and book your child’s free Swim Safe place, visit
  • Swim England, and the RNLI work closely with local partners to facilitate Swim Safe sessions – partners include water sports activity centres, RYA centres and other locally recognised sites with trained instructors.
  • Swim Safe images available for download here.
  • Swim Safe video available for download here.
  • * Children aged between 7-14 (all stats relate to this age range)
  • ** Summer months are June, July and August
  • *** Children must be able to swim 25m unaided to be eligible for a session
  • To learn how to teach your child to Float watch the video here
  • For more information on the RNLI’s summer safety campaign visit
  • To support RNLI lifesavers, please visit Donate

RNLI media contacts

Jaye Mackay, RNLI Media Engagement Placement for Scotland, 07929 673286, [email protected]

Natasha Bennett, RNLI Regional Media Officer for Scotland, 07826 900639, [email protected]

Martin Macnamara, RNLI Regional Media Manager for Scotland, 07920 365929, [email protected]

RNLI Press Office, 01202 336789

Calum Chittleburgh

RNLI Lifeguards on West Sands Beach in St Andrews deliver sea safety session to junior golfers from St Andrews Links Junior Golf Association ahead of The 150th Open (12.07)

Callum Chittleburgh

Children can be seen practising Float to Live during a Swim Safe session

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.

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.