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23 May 2014, 16:00
The South West has the highest number of drownings in the UK.
The month of May sees the most number of drownings across the South West, and last year between April and September, 37 people were killed by drowning.
Now free sea swimming lessons are being held in Bude for the second year running. They're to help children understand the difference between swimming in the pool and in the sea.
Currents and waves create added dangers to the swimming environment, which can cause fatal situations.
Around two thirds of incidents that RNLI lifeguards respond to on some of the UK’s busiest beaches involve children. The Swim Safe initiative offers young swimmers the opportunity to attend a free 40 minute session which includes beach safety from the RNLI lifeguards and around 30 minutes in-water tuition from ASA qualified swimming teachers.
Commenting on the initiative, David Sparkes, Chief Executive of the ASA said, “At the ASA we strive to ensure every child is granted an opportunity to learn to swim. While swimming 25m unaided is an important milestone to help improve safety for our children in general, we often forget that many children swim most often while they are on holiday.”
“Swimming in an open water environment presents its own challenges and dangers, so we are delighted to be able to provide both beach and open water safety tuition with help from the RNLI to those children who have already achieved the national curriculum swimming standard”
Ross Macleod, RNLI Coastal Safety Manager, said, “The aim of the Swim Safe programme is to improve children’s swimming abilities and their confidence in the sea, which is a very different environment to a pool. We’ll also be helping them understand how they can keep safe at the seaside."