Pupils from across the Isle of Wight will join former Olympic swimmer Sarah Price to take part in the vital life-saving scheme Get Safe 4 Summer at their local pool this week.
Around 70 children from local primary schools will be making a splash at the Isle of Wight Council-run Waterside Pool in Ryde this Wednesday 9th July, as part of Get Safe 4 Summer 2008, an educational and water safety campaign run by the asa (the national governing body for swimming) in partnership with the Royal Life Saving Society.
Sarah Price, who won two gold medals at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and has competed at two Olympic Games, will join the children for an action-packed few hours in the water with a host of fun and educational events including boat safety, snorkelling and rescue skills. On dry land there will also be a number of activities including a water safety quiz, a 999 call station and resuscitation techniques.
Sarah said: "It is so important for young people to be aware of how to be safe in the water, particularly here where they are often in close proximity to the sea on a daily basis. I am a strong swimmer but even I find that when you are splashing about in the sea it is completely different to being in the pool. Today is all about teaching children about the dangers of open water, as well as highlighting that swimming is the only sport that can save your life."
Specifically the campaign teaches children all the important things they need to know when visiting coastal and inland waters over the summer holidays, from how they can spot the dangers themselves to how to act in an emergency.
On average, one person drowns in the UK every 17 hours and drowning is still the third highest cause of accidental death amongst children with most occurring in inland waters such as rivers, lakes and ponds. Get Safe 4 Summer delivers important water safety messages for children to take with them.
The asa Chief Executive David Sparkes said: "The ability to recognise dangers and a knowledge of water safety is just as important as being able to swim. As the summer holidays approach the asa’s Get Safe 4 Summer Campaign is all about raising awareness that swimming in open water such as lakes, rivers, canals and the sea is very different from the pool. We want everyone to be able to enjoy the water but in a safe and sensible way."
This year the campaign has also launched a new website – www.getsafe4summer.org – which contains information about regional and local events, facts and figures and how to host a Get Safe 4 Summer event.
Alan Wells, Isle of Wight Council cabinet member for children and young people, said: "Living on an island surrounded by water makes it vital that young people learn to swim. And once young people are confident and safe around water, they are fortunate enough to be able to take part in a whole range of healthy and stimulating water-based activities."
Facts & Figures
- Every 17 hours someone in the UK drowns
- On average 450 - 500 people drown every year
- Drowning in this country is the 3rd highest cause of accidental death in children
- At least three quarters of drowning victims are male
- In 2005 75 children drowned whilst on holiday abroad
- Drowning locations:
- Approx 20% of all drownings are at coastal locations
- Approx 62% of all drownings are at inland waters - rivers, lakes, canals, reservoirs etc
- The remaining 18% are roughly broken up as follows:
- Home baths - 10%
- Swimming pools - 4%
- Garden ponds - 3%
- Other - 1%
- The safest place to swim or bathe is a beach or swimming pool protected by qualified lifeguards
- Pre-school children are most at risk from the domestic environment: the bath, a garden pond or a water butt
- Older children are more vulnerable at open water sites, usually away from parental supervision.
Posted on 07 Jul 2008 at 20:42 by Chris Lambert.
For more information contact the asa PR Assistant on 01509 632238 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The asa is the English National Governing Body for Swimming, Diving, Water Polo, Open Water, and Synchronised Swimming. It organises competition throughout England, establishes the Laws of the Sport and operates comprehensive certification and education programmes for Teachers, Coaches and Officials as well as its renowned Learn To Swim Awards scheme. The asa supports 1,220 affiliated swimming clubs through a National/Regional/County structure. The asa aims to ensure everybody has an opportunity to learn to swim.