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Return of RNLI’s ‘float to live’ skills for Wirral children ahead of Summer

Lifeboats Media Invite

After the success of last year’s lifesaving ‘float to live’ sessions, the Helen Diamond Swimming School and the RNLI water safety volunteers are partnering again to deliver vital water safety messaging and skills to children on the Wirral during the national Drowning Prevention Week, 17th–24th June.

  • What: Water safety messaging delivered to swimming school students and their parents/guardians by Hoylake and West Kirby RNLI water safety volunteers followed by practical survival skills including ‘float to live’ and other self-rescue methods taught by the Helen Diamond Swimming School.

The media opportunity will include filming/ recording of water safety sessions, practical demonstrations of the lifesaving ‘float to live’ technique, and interviews with RNLI Water Safety Advisors as well as potentially swimming school students and parents/ guardians. Footage of RNLI rescues can be provided on request. Further video material is available in the media release linked below.

Where/When :

  • Saturday 17th June 9am-5:30pm at Birkenhead High School Academy, 86 Devonshire Place, Prenton, CH43 1TY ,
  • Tuesday 20th June 4:30pm-7pm at Calday Grange Swimming Pool, Gourleys Lane, West Kirby, Wirral, CH48

Please contact Robyn Callendar or Dan Whiteley on the contact below to register your interest in attending.

Why: After several tragic drownings during the Summer of 2020 following the easing of pandemic lockdown restrictions, Helen Diamond (owner of Wirral-based Helen Diamond Swimming School) and Dave Bates (Hoylake RNLI Water Safety Volunteer) met online to discuss how being safe in and around water is often more important than the ability to swim.

From this conversation, a plan was formulated to include 15-minute ‘float to live’ sessions in regular swimming lessons before the Summer of 2021. The feedback was so positive that in 2022, 30 minutes per lesson were dedicated to teaching these water safety skills, incorporating water safety messaging delivered by RNLI volunteers at the start of every session.

The sessions are now returning ahead of this Summer as Helen Diamond Swimming School and Water Safety Volunteers from Hoylake and West Kirby RNLI Lifeboat Stations join forces to teach these lifesaving skills to children on the Wirral.

Recent figures reveal there were 22 deaths in the North West from accidental drowning in 2022 across inland and coastal locations. Overall in the UK, the figure was 226. Of the people who died across the UK, 40 per cent had no intention of entering the water, such as those walking, with causes including slips, trips and falls, being cut off by the tide, or swept in by waves.

Recent research also indicates a third of UK people don’t know what to do if they get into difficulty in the water.

The sessions will be taking place at both Caldy Grange Swimming Pool and Birkenhead High School Academy over the course of Drowning Prevention Week.

Dave Bates, Hoylake RNLI Water Safety Adviser said: ‘We are really looking forward to partnering with the Helen Diamond Swimming School again this year. These children are already learning to swim, but there is much more to being safe in and around water. The RNLI messages and these skills can save your life whether you are a non-swimmer or a county champion, especially if you have fallen into cold water.’

For more information on the RNLI’s Float To Live campaign, please see:

Notes to editors

When in cold water (anything below 15°C), the human body can go into cold water shock. If this happens, people can lose control of their breathing and movement. Cold water shock also causes the heart rate and blood pressure to quickly increase, which can lead to cardiac arrest.

The average sea temperature around the UK and Ireland is just 12°C. Inland waters like lakes, rivers, lochs and reservoirs can be colder – even in the summer.

If you get into difficulty in the water, float to live:

1. Fight the urge to thrash around

2. Lean back and extend your arms and legs

3. Gently move them around to help you float if you need to

4. Float until you can control your breathing

5. Only then, call for help or swim to safety

In an emergency at the coast, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

RNLI media contacts

For more information, or to register you interest in attending the media opportunity please contact:

Robyn Callander, Deputy Lifeboat Press Officer on 07875 102 848 or email [email protected]

Dan Whiteley, Lifeboat Press Officer on 07799 851 316 or email [email protected]

RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789

Young swimmer learning how to float ahead of Summer

Helen Diamond Swimming School

Young swimmer learning how to float ahead of Summer

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.