GLL, the UK’s largest public swimming pools operator and swimming lessons provider, will be delivering water safety lessons and information to over 200,000 children during learn to swim lessons as part of its substantial support for this year’s Drowning Prevention Week and urges parents to ensure their children know how to stay safe and enjoy the water this summer. 

With many of us opting for staycations again this year, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) fears families will flock to beaches and inland water locations this summer without considering the potential dangers, putting themselves and others at risk. Or those who will be venturing abroad for a summer holiday may find themselves using non-lifeguarded pools and therefore be at risk if they lack the necessary water safety skills.  

Figures indicate that around 25 per cent of primary pupils leave school unable to swim, and experts fear that due to the pandemic, many young people lack the ability to swim or self-rescue. 

GLL is supporting RLSS UK’s national Drowning Prevention Week campaign, this year running from 17-24 June 2023, with what is thought to be the largest supporting campaign of its kind in the country. As well as pool-based activities, they will be engaging youngsters up and down the country through colouring competitions, word searches, spot the dangers and having a stall at school fetes.  

Within their swimming lessons, they will be talking about where it is and isn’t safe to swim, beach flag colours, where you may or may not see a lifeguard, what colour they may wear on a beach, in a pool and what the flags mean, teaching the older children reach rescues, floating, calling for help, treading water, etc.  

Drowning Prevention Week aims to equip everybody across the UK and Ireland with the skills and knowledge, to make the right decisions about water safety. 

Over 300 people accidentally drown in the UK and Ireland every year, and many more suffer injuries, sometimes life-changing when they survive drowning.  

Chris Hebblewhite, Director of National Standards and Compliance, GLL, said: “We are proud to play our part in ensuring our families have a safe summer. We recognise how vitally important it is for children to know how to stay safe near water and urge parents to access RLSS UK’s free water safety resources on the charity’s website. We want children to enjoy all of the fun and benefits of being in and around water but be educated on how to do that safely.”  

The RLSS UK’s Charity Director, Lee Heard, said: “The UK’s beautiful waterways should be places where everyone feels at ease and can take pleasure from their surroundings, whatever their age, whatever their activity level. But we’re urging people to educate themselves and others on how to enjoy the water safely and prevent a fun day out from ending in tragedy. 

“The Drowning Prevention Week campaign is crucial this year. Throughout the last few years, young people have missed out on the vital opportunity to swim, leaving a dramatic gap in school swimming and water safety education. 

“RLSS UK believes that through free, accessible education and training, everyone can enjoy water safely. We urge as many parents as possible to get involved with the campaign, use our free online resources, and give their children the skills to enjoy a lifetime of fun in the water.” 

“For 2023, we have produced a brand-new series of water safety games for swimming teachers to encourage the development of water safety skills and knowledge. The water safety games encourage a safe relationship with the water. We also hope they will inspire children to have a positive future relationship with water, with all the mental and physical benefits of being in, on, and around water, and enjoy a lifetime of fun in the water, safely.” 

Click here to access Drowning Prevention Week resources. 

Click here for information on swimming lessons near you