Hundreds of kids make a splash for Swim Safe

Lifeboats Media Invite

Media Opportunity: The media are invited to Sandbanks beach, Poole, where children will be making a splash by taking part in Swim Safe, outdoor swimming and water safety sessions, run by the RNLI and the ASA.

EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01 on Tuesday 2 August 2016

Date: Tuesday 2 August 2016 (tomorrow).

Meeting place: Sandbanks Beach Office, Banks Road, Poole, BH13 7QQ. There is pay and display parking on site. Please meet RNLI PR Officer, Donna Atkins, in the foyer at 11.15am.

Time: There are four Swim Safe sessions per day, with approximately 20 children participating in each session (at capacity). Sessions start at 1030am.

RNLI Chief Executive, Paul Boissier will be available for interviews between 12pm and 1pm. The interviews will be arranged in ten minute slots, so please book your preferred time.

Swim Safe Site Co-ordinator, Sharon Abley and Swim Safe Delivery Manager, Sarah Porter will be available for interviews on the beach between 1130am and 1pm.

Hundreds of children are swapping the swimming pool for the sea this summer, as part of an open water safe swimming scheme in Dorset.

The Swim Safe programme, which is delivered in partnership between the ASA and the RNLI charity, is now in its fourth year.

Practical, interactive, educational and fun, each session includes a land-based safety lesson with a lifeguard and in-water tuition with a swimming teacher. Wetsuits, swimming hats and a free goody bag with a t-shirt are all provided.

The sessions, designed for seven to fourteen year olds, are being delivered by a team of trained ASA level 2 teachers, Ashley Jones and Sharon Abley, along with lots of volunteers, many of whom are from RNLI Poole.

The team will be delivering 90 free 45 minute sessions over three weeks at two different locations in Poole: Sandbanks 30 July – 4 August and Shore Road 6 – 18 August (except Fridays).

Sharon Abley and Ashley Jones are both experienced beach lifeguards and swimmers. They have developed and delivered an accredited Swim Safe training opportunity to over 100 Swim Safe teachers nationwide at 14 locations.

The teachers have already taught 500 children in Poole between 4 and 8 July in the Swim Safe for Schools programme.

The programme has taught over 12,000 children so far across the UK since it began in Bude in 2013.

Swim Safe Delivery Manager, Sarah Porter, said: ‘By using the skills of ASA swimming teachers and RNLI lifeguards, young swimmers will learn about the open water environment and how different it is to a pool.

‘The five points we want children to remember when in open water are:

1. Choose a safe place to swim - between Red and Yellow Flags
2. Know who can help (teachers and lifeguards)
3. Importance of being supervised and not swimming alone
4. Effects cold water will have on their ability to swim
5. Knowing how to call for help

‘The sea can be an unpredictable place, so we want as many people as possible to be wary of any danger, so that they can stay safe at the seaside or wherever they choose to have fun in the water.’

A few places are still available for the last two weeks of Poole’s Swim Safe sessions. Parents can book their children’s place by visiting

Notes to Editors

Photographs of Swim Safe sessions are available, upon request.

Paul Boissier is only available for interview during the specified time.

To confirm attendance, arrange interviews or for more information please, contact RNLI Public Relations Officer, Donna Atkins, on 01202 336064 or email

About Swim Safe

Swim Safe began in 2013 and ran for five weeks in Bude, Cornwall, teaching local children and those holidaying in the area how to be safe in and around the sea.

By 2015 the programme had expanded to Bude, Bournemouth, Sandhaven, the Lake District, the Isle of Man, Plymouth and Jersey. This year the programme will be delivered in 14 locations, with thousands of places still available nationwide.

For more information visit

About the ASA

The ASA (Amateur Swimming Association) is the English national governing body for swimming, diving, synchronised swimming and water polo.

It organises competitions throughout England, establishes the laws of the sport and operates a comprehensive certification and education programmes for teachers, coaches and officials. There are over 1,000 affiliated swimming clubs which are supported by the ASA through a national, regional and county structure.

Millions of children have been taught to swim through the ASA’s learn to swim programmes. The ASA also develops programmes and initiatives to increase the number of people swimming more often.  For more information visit

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 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 or by email.