Water safety lessons to counter escalating drownings

2021 drownings in Loch Lomond were part of one of Scotland's worst years for water fatalities.

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Following last summer’s tragic drownings in Argyll, children across the area are being invited to join a new programme of water safety lessons.

In one July weekend in 2021 three people drowned near Loch Lomond’s Pulpit Loch and one 16-year-old drowned at Balloch Country Park.

These tragedies were part of one of Scotland’s most deadly years for water fatalities with a total of 105 people losing their lives in waters throughout the country in 2021.

Lifesaving lessons are being rolled out in Argyll to mark Drowning Prevention Week with water safety lessons to be delivered to around 70,000 children enrolled in Learn to Swim programmes across Scotland.

Drowning Prevention Week is organised by the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) between July 18 and 25 as part of the  Learn to Swim programme – a partnership between Scottish Water and Scottish Swimming.

Coming after day-to-day lessons were interrupted for almost two years due to the pandemic, it reflects an urgent ongoing commitment to help children to become confident and competent swimmers while improving water safety for a new generation of swimmers.

Director of Corporate Affairs with Scottish Water Brian Lironi said: ‘Given the disruption suffered to the provision of traditional lessons during the pandemic, it really is such a vital opportunity to develop generations of confident, safer, competent children and ensure they do not miss out on such an important life skill.

‘With the lifting of lockdown and other challenges facing households, it is likely many people will choose to staycation here in Scotland again this year, complete with the attraction of swimming at beauty spots and popular locations.

‘By improving water safety and working with coaches across the country, our partnership with Scottish Swimming really can make a life changing difference for so many.’

Scottish Swimming Chief Executive Officer Euan Lowe added: ‘Ensuring children can learn to swim will provide essential life skills to keep them safe in and around water following a period when they may have risked missing out on the learning and fun that goes with it.

‘Coaches will be delivering lessons specially adapted to include key water safety guidance including the water safety code and basic skills, such as floating, which are needed to survive in cold water.

‘Coming ahead of the summer holidays, our team is very much looking forward to engaging with our communities and building on every level of experience to ensure safe swimming for generations to come.’