Swim Safe is returning to Bude for the fifth year this summer.
The programme was launched in Bude in 2013. Since then, Swim Safe has expanded to more than 20 locations across the UK and Ireland.
Over 5,000 young people have learned how to stay in and around water by taking part in a Swim Safe session in Bude.
12-year-old Finlay Mckinnon has attended a session every year since it started and will be taking part again this year.
Finlay said: “I like going to Swim Safe every year because it is fun and I like getting in the water. The instructors are friendly and if you are nervous about going in the water they reassure you and help you. I can't wait to do it this year because I know it will be fun and I can remember all the things I have been taught before about how to be safe in the sea.”
His mother Eilidh Maccormick says: “Finlay’s first Swim Safe was actually when we were on holiday in Bude prior to moving here the following year. I noticed on the beach they were doing something regarding water safety and went to ask about it. They were so friendly and encouraging that l booked him and his sister Jessie in for the next day before we went home the following day. I am so glad l did and I continue to sign them up every year.”
Swim Safe teaches children how to stay safe when swimming outdoors, which is often more challenging than swimming in a pool.
Eilidh added: “Not being brought up by the sea meant we were seriously lacking in knowledge of water safety and the potential dangers. Kids being kids can be over confident at times and Finlay definitely comes away every time with a renewed sense of respect for the sea and how best to manage himself in water emergencies.”
Finlay added: “At Swim Safe you learn how to be safe in the water and if you do get into any situation, you know not to panic and go into the position you will be taught called the cold water shock position. You are taught how to signal for help and you also learn what not to do on the beach and where it is safe to swim.”
Last year nearly 700 children took part in Swim Safe sessions at the site in Bude, with hundreds more taking part in sessions in Plymouth and Penzance – as well as thousands more at coastal and inland locations across the UK.
Eilidh added: “Through the years Finlay has learned to enjoy his time on the beach more and more but always with a good level of caution, and has learned to identify when others may be putting themselves at risk. It is an amazing resource for families to support themselves in staying safe whilst having fun on the beach and in the sea.”
This year a further 12 Swim Safe sessions will be held at Bude Sea Pool and Summerleaze Beach between 31 July and 23 August.
Bill Williams Swim Safe Co-ordinator, for Bude says: “Children love swimming outdoors – but swimming in the sea, rivers and lakes is more challenging than swimming in a pool where most lessons take place. Swim Safe helps children learn to keep safe when swimming outdoors, so they know what do if they get into trouble. And because Swim Safe sessions are free and fun, they are a great activity for children aged 7–14 who live or are holidaying in Bude or the surrounding area.”
To book a free Swim Session, visit swimsafe.org.uk then share your experience using #SwimSafe and at Facebook.com/SwimSafeOutdoors