Robert Gofton
31 May 2019

It has been 16 days since I started my RLSS UK journey as CEO and it has certainly been a jam packed 384 hours! My initial observations of the Staff Team, Trustees and the Volunteers I have already had the pleasure to meet (including our special group of newly appointed Youth Ambassadors) is that there is so much expertise, commitment and above all passion, to really want to make a difference by helping to stop drowning and to make all water related activity, as safe as it can possibly be.

With an organisation steeped in history such as ours, it is no surprise to me the robustness and quality with which my colleagues approach the development of our range of qualifications is impressive. I am proud to be part of an organisation where the expertise in lifeguarding and the consultation with key leisure operators in the development of the National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ), helps to keep RLSS UK lifeguarded pools amongst the safest in the world.

The work of RLSS UK spans across so many areas to help make water safe and this is essential given that 40% of drowning victims had no intention of entering the water when losing their lives.  This fact means it is essential to equip as many people as possible with water safety education and the knowledge of what to do should they find themselves or someone else in trouble in water. Our work with the Department of Education in pushing out our Drowning Prevention Week resources to all primary schools in England, is a massive step forward to help raise more awareness of how to stop drowning. I am looking forward to meeting our Parliamentarian supporters at the next All Party Parliamentary Group in June to take our raising awareness work to the next level, as well as meeting my CEO colleagues who sit on the National Water Safety Forum, to ensure our partnership is as effective as it possibly can be in supporting the delivery of the UK’s National Drowning Prevention Strategy. This work ensures we are delivering now but also helping shape and influencing future policy, legislation and education.

As the weather improves more and more people will be looking to take part in open water swimming, I want to continue the organisation’s quest for as many people as possible to take part in aquatic related activity in the safest way possible.  Each year we hear of people losing their lives to drowning when swimming in unsupervised locations.  We want to make swimming in open water as fun and as safe as swimming in RLSS UK lifeguarded pools. We have a range of products such as the Open Water Lifeguard qualification and advice services as part of the SH2OUT accreditation scheme that we deliver in partnership with British Tri. It was great to see the pics from last weekend’s RLSS UK Open Water Festival with Sywell Country Park proudly flying the flag for new safe open water venues and I look forward to welcoming many more new venues, over the coming months and years.

Finally, I want to say a big thank you to those of you who have made me feel so welcome in my early days and, also thank you to the many RLSS UK Trainers and Volunteers helping to play their vital part in helping to stop the unnecessary loss of life. There is still much more to be done but I am looking forward to many more conversations on how we work in partnership to help stop drowning.

For more information about Robert Gofton, click here.