Abta launches Swim Safe campaign

Abta launches Swim Safe campaign

Abta has launched a campaign urging families to stay say while swimming this summer.

Swim Safe outlines “simple steps” to ensure children are safe in the water.

According to statistics from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, 30 children under 10 have drowned in holiday swimming pools abroad over a six-year period, with more than half of the victims aged under four.

Last year Abta was made aware of 19 fatal UK holidaymaker drownings abroad - seven in swimming pools and 12 in the sea.

Families are urged to always follow pool and beach rules and local signs, check the pool layout to know where the deep and shallow ends are and never leave their child unsupervised.

Abta research in 2014 revealed that more than 12% of people don’t check safety information.

Nikki White, director of destinations and sustainability at Abta, said: “Unfortunately, each year there are accidents in the water, some with devastating consequences.

“Swimming should be one of the pleasures of a holiday, and following some simple steps can save lives, keep you and your loved ones safe, and help keep the water fun for everyone this summer.”

Abta’s top tips for swimming safety:

Make the most of your time in the water
• Brush up on your swimming skills before you go away.
• If you’ve got kids then get in the water with them – it’s easier to keep an eye on them as well as good fun – remember children should always be kept under constant supervision in or near water.

Be aware of your surroundings
• Always follow pool rules and local signs.
• Check the pool layout to know where the deep and shallow ends are, especially before jumping or diving in.
• Check warning flags and signage on the beach.
• Beware of dangerous currents: these can be very powerful. Ask locally if there are any known dangerous currents or dangers caused by the tides and avoid swimming in these areas.
• Beware of underwater hazards, such as reefs, rocks, sudden changes in depth and marine life.
• Don’t dive or jump from rocks, piers, breakwaters or poolside furniture.

Follow safety advice
• Speak to reps, hoteliers or local people about pools and local beaches.
• Read the pool rules before you swim and remember, not all holiday accommodations employ lifeguards.
• Never swim where a sign says not to e.g. in zoned areas for jet boats or jet skis, or where the lifeguards have identified as being unsafe (possibly due to hazards that you can’t see)
• If there is a flag warning system, learn what it means.

Look out for others
• Never swim alone, ‘buddy up’ with others in your party.
• Children should be supervised by an adult at all times and never left unattended, even if a lifeguard is present.
• Armbands can be a good training aid for children but are not a substitute for supervision.
• Never swim at night or after drinking alcohol.
• Know how and where to get help, if you see someone in difficulty; raise the alarm - preferably the emergency services – ensure you know the correct number for the country you’re in.

Don’t overestimate your ability
• Consider lessons before you go if you think you might need them.
• Even if you regularly swim in a pool, remember that open water can be very different, and cold water reduces the distance that you can swim significantly, even for strong swimmers.

For information for holidaymakers on how to stay safe in the water, and to download posters, videos and leaflets visit abta.com/swimsafe

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