In 2016 more than 2,000 people were rescued from the seas around the South East Coast of England, and there appears to be no let-up in the number of people needing help. Figures show RNLI Lifeboat launches are up by 13 per cent on 2015’s total of 1,750 launches. Similarly, the number of people rescued increased by 3 per cent in 2016, up from 1,940 people in 2015.
This summer, and in response to the seven men who sadly drowned at Camber Sands near Rye, East Sussex last year, Wave Leisure Trust (Wave) in partnership with the local RNLI, is launching “SEA SAFE – Water Aware”.
This campaign will tackle the subject of sea safety and making sure the community of East Sussex knows how to swim and have the knowledge to stay safe when on the beach, in the sea or having fun in the river or swimming pool.
The key aims for the campaign are 1) understanding lifeguard flags, 2) knowing what the swimming rules are and 3) most importantly, knowing how to float and tread water for three minutes or more.
SEA SAFE – Water Aware is supported by the RNLI who are delighted to link-up with Wave in a strategic partnership, which enables them to also deliver their RESPECT THE WATER messages to a larger and younger than normal audience.
Bill Walton, the RNLI’s Coastal Safety Officer at the Newhaven Lifeboat Station said: “As an organisation, it’s imperative for us to link-up with other organisations in order to co-ordinate resource and give greater reach and impetus to lifesaving messages that raise awareness and change behaviour. We’re delighted to be partnering with Wave; an alliance which has strong potential to prevent loss of life across East Sussex.”
From July until September, Wave will be hosting a series of classes and informative, fun, interactive sessions for the summer holidays at Wave’s swimming pools at Lewes Leisure Centre and Seahaven Swim & Fitness Centre in Newhaven.
Supporting the campaign is Heart Sussex and Surrey Breakfast Show presenter, Jack The Lad. Jack, who spent two years as a Lifeguard on Hove’s beaches had the experience of saving a young man’s life when on duty in 1996.
He is passionate about the campaign and said: “I am delighted and very honoured to be asked to support this campaign which Wave Leisure and the RNLI are launching. The sea can be great fun, but it can also be a very dangerous place, something I know only too well from my time as a Beach Lifeguard. Teaching kids how to respect the water and understand the beach flags is a brilliant idea, especially as we start the long school holidays. I can’t commend them enough for raising the awareness locally.”
Wave’s CEO, Duncan Kerr added: “Through the SEA SAFE – Water Aware campaign we, along with the RNLI, want to help educate children and their parents on how to behave in a safe, but fun way in and around water not only during the summer, but at all times of year. The skills and practical knowledge the sessions will provide may, one day, save a life.”