RNLI and Swim England team up to offer children free sea safety lessons this summer

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has joined forces with Swim England to offer children lifesaving water safety skills.

Recent research released by the lifesaving charity predicts up to 35M* people are planning to visit the coast this summer in the UK and Ireland.

North Yorkshire’s local delivery partner, Andrew McGeown Legacy Fund, supported by the national governing body for swimming in England and the RNLI are running free Swim Safe sessions to teach children aged 7-14** how to stay safe in and around open water and what to do if they, or someone else, gets into difficulty - including how to Float to live.

Sam Johnson of the RNLI’s Water Safety team said: ‘Last year, RNLI lifeguards and volunteer lifeboat crews were busy, aiding more than 50,000 people and saving 408 lives.

‘By educating children about water safety from a young age, together we can help reduce the number of incidents around our coasts and at inland locations.

‘That’s why we are encouraging parents of children between the ages of 7 and 14 to sign them up to the free Swim Safe sessions to help build their confidence in and around the water, while learning vital skills which could save their lives such as how to Float.

‘This is a simple technique where you lean back like a starfish, using your arms and legs to stay afloat. It allows you to control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety and is proven to save lives.’

Since 2013, the Swim Safe programme has delivered free lifesaving sessions to more than 148,000 children across the UK.

The 45 minute sessions are held at Scarborough North Bay Beach and are run by Andrew McGeown Legacy Fund with trained instructors beginning 8 August.

Ashley Jones, Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Manager for Swim England said: ‘We’re pleased to be able to partner with the RNLI again to run free Swim Safe sessions this summer at a variety of coastal and inland locations around the UK.

‘We want children and their parents to enjoy themselves around water but also to think about their own safety and know what to do in an emergency.’

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 in an emergency and ask for the Coastguard.