Leisure centres and lifesaving teams join forces to help prevent drowning tragedies

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16 June 2017 4:41PM

VITAL water safety advice will be taught across the county as efforts are made to prevent summer drowning tragedies.

Leisure centres and schools have joined forces for the National Drowning Prevention campaign, which runs throughout the coming week.

The campaign, run by the Royal Life Saving Society UK, hopes to teach hundreds of thousands of children nationwide how to stay safe near water this summer.

Ulverston Leisure Centre is one of the many centres taking part.

Hannah Whitford, swimming teacher at the centre, said: "Because of where we live in the Lake District, it's very important for us to join in with these national campaigns.

"We've got classes on with children and we're running another session for people to come down on June 25 with their families and learn important life saving messages."

Every year, the summer months pose a high risk of drowning.

John Falvey, RNLI's operations manager at Barrow, said: "We go into schools and do visits with young children and adults to warn them of the dangers and get them educated.

"Prevention is better than cure and we really want to stop preventable drownings.

"Preventing drownings and the many ways they can happen all comes under the banner of our Respect the Water campaign."

The RNLI campaign focuses on the many ways drownings can occur.

Mr Falvey said: "Cold water shock is one of the biggest problems we try to educate about. Anything less than 15 degrees is classed as cold water and here the temperature is rarely above 12.

"It's like jumping into a shower running cold water. You gasp as you try and breathe but your brain stops you and there's nothing you can do about it.

"People struggle and try to swim away but that's probably the worst thing you can do. Keep calm, float, and you'll be back to normal within 90 seconds."

Di Steer, chief executive of RLSS UK, stressed the importance of the scheme, saying: "We want as many children as possible to learn essential water safety skills.

"Accidental drowning is wholly preventable and by encouraging leisure centres to get involved, we effectively extend our work force and potentially save lives."

Read more:

Warning issued as Barrow Lifeboat Station callout figures revealed.

Lifeboat crews rescue capsized kayakers off Walney.

Barrow lifeboat launched to assist stranded fishing boat.

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