A second successful Swim Safe event at Sandown beach was held earlier this summer, meaning that over 3,000 children have now learned to stay safe in the sea and on the coast since 2018.
In July and August, some 1,300 children, either at school on the island or visiting on holiday, attended free 1-hour water safety lessons funded by the RNLI and Swim England at Sandown beach.
The scheme is hosted by the Isle of Wight RNLI Lifeboat Board, working with Isle of Wight Council Sports Development Unit and The Waterside Trust of Ryde.
The Board is now planning to hold a third successive event in Summer 2020.
Robin Ebsworth, Board chairman, said:
“Each year around the Island, volunteer lifeboat crews, lifeguards and the UK Coastguard respond to dozens of emergencies on the coast. Swim Safe helps children stay safe in and around the sea, giving them essential in-water training for themselves and learning how to help if they see others in danger”.
The RNLI estimate that half of all the people that drown around our coasts never even meant to be in the water.
In asking people to respect the water Robin added:
“The essential advice we give is: to be aware of your surroundings and risks; not to swim alone; learn to float rather than trying to swim or fight the water, and, if you see someone in trouble, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.”
Swim Safe gives this advice to children on the beach and they then practise in the water, with the help of qualified swim teachers and lifeguards from The Waterside Pool in Ryde. The Isle of Wight Council’s Sport Development Unit assists with schools’ attendance.
“We are hugely grateful to our partners for their support and with their help we hope Swim Safe will be back next year – look out for our website at www.swimsafe.org.uk”