Hundreds of kids make a splash as Swim Safe returns to Peel
More than 300 children are swapping the swimming pool for the sea this week as part of an outdoor safe swimming scheme in Peel.
Swim Safe, which is delivered in partnership between the ASA and the RNLI charity, has returned to Fenella Beach for the second year. Starting on Monday (8 August) and running until Friday (12 August), every day will see dozens of children aged between seven and 14 take part in one of four free outdoor water safety sessions.
The return of Swim Safe to Peel follows a successful pilot on the Isle of Man last year which saw 180 children learn how to stay safe in or near open water. This year capacity was extended and more than 350 youngsters will be learning vital safety techniques and how to call for help if they get into difficulty in the sea.
Among those who know first-hand the importance of sea safety is Donna Crowe, of Peel, whose son William, 12, took part in Swim Safe on the Island last summer.
Donna said some of the advice her son was given during the session helped him six weeks ago when he got into difficulty while swimming at Fenella Beach. With an offshore wind blowing, William realised he was in trouble and was finding it difficult to return to shore. He was hit by a wave and was forced underwater, but he managed to make it back to the beach. Despite being cold and shaken, William was fine.
Donna said: ‘He doesn’t know exactly how he managed to get back to the beach after being forced underwater, but he said he remembered the advice given in Swim Safe lessons last year: Stay calm and don’t panic if you get into trouble in the sea. This really helped him.
‘William has had swimming lessons in the pool but what happened to him shows the sea is totally different and brings its own risks.
‘I am really glad William did Swim Safe and I think it’s great that hundreds more children will be learning how to keep safe in the sea this week.’
The Swim Safe sessions include a land-based safety lesson with RNLI lifeguards and in-water tuition with ASA qualified swimming teachers. Wetsuits and swimming hats are provided, and there will be a free goody bag with a t-shirt for every child.
Krystina Wheeldon, Swim Safe Coordinator for the programme in Peel said: ‘There are all sorts of environmental factors to consider when you’re swimming outdoors, and it’s important that children know how to call for help if they get into trouble.
‘After the programme’s success last year it’s great to see even more children learning how to stay safe in the open water this year - and having a great time too.’
Since it began in Bude, Cornwall, in 2013, Swim Safe has taught over 12,000 children across the UK.
Sarah Porter, Swim Safe Delivery Manager, said: ‘The five points we want children to remember when in open water are to choose a safe place to swim – at a lifeguarded beach between red and yellow flags, to know who can help (teachers and lifeguards), the importance of being supervised and not swimming alone, the effects cold water will have on their ability to swim and to know 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.’
Notes to Editors:
The attached pictures show children enjoying the Swim Safe sessions in Peel, Isle of Man, today (Wednesday August 10). Credit Mike Howland
For more information please, contact Chris Cousens, RNLI Press Officer for the West region, on 07748 265496 or 01745 585162 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 and included the introduction of Swim Safe For Schools. This year the programme will be delivered in over 13 locations with thousands of places available. For more information visit www.swimming.org/swimsafe
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: www.swimming.org/asa
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.