Listen: Swim safety course to educate swimmers on Northern Irish waterways

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The course will teach people about swim safety

By Q Radio News

A swimming safety course that will teach people how to stay safe in Northern Irish waterways is planned for later this month.

The initiative between Swim Ulster and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, planned for  Muckross Strand on the 13th and 14th of August, comes after a spate of water-related deaths in Northern Ireland.

Tragedy struck during last month's heatwave when 13-year-old Jay Moffett died after getting into difficulties in a lake in Scarva, and 55-year-old  Peter Jones died in Lough Melvin, County Fermanagh.

A man also died after an incident in the waters of Balintoy harbour.

Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Errol Thompson, says people can take steps to keep themselves safe in open water.

He said: “The Fermanagh and Omagh district has a network of lakes and waterways which are attractive to open water swimmers but each location poses its own set of challenges. The courses are being organised at an opportune time and I would encourage those new to open water swimming and indeed those with some experience of the activity, to come along to Muckross Strand to familiarize themselves with the measures they can take to ensure that their open water swimming experience is as safe as possible.”    

Chairperson of the Fermanagh and Omagh Policing and Community Safety Partnership, Councillor Keith Elliott said:

“I strongly encourage anyone involved in open water swimming to attend these sessions. We want people to enjoy the water equipped with the skills and knowledge to do so safely”.  

Ruth McQuillan, Swim Ulster Coach Development Officer said: 

“Swim Ulster are delighted for the opportunity to work with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and the Fermanagh Omagh Policing Community Safety Partnership to promote safe swimming in the local area. The Open Water Swimming Safety Course covers how to stay safe in open water, assessing conditions and much more to ensure that it’s safe to enter the water; safety first at all times." 

The cost to attend the training course is £10 per person which has been subsidised by the Fermanagh Omagh Policing and Community Safety Partnership. Course places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.   

The safety course at Muckross Strand, Kesh will take place on Friday 13 August 2021 and Saturday 14 August 2021 from 6pm – 7pm and 7.15pm – 8.15pm.   

The session from 6pm – 7pm is dedicated to those who are new to open water swimming and have limited experience whilst the 7.15pm – 8.15pm session is for those who are currently involved within open water swimming and have some experience.

Participants will be required to attend the two one - hour slots across both evenings of their selected session following an initial Zoom session prior to attending the course.   

Each participant who attends the swim safety course will receive a tow float, rescue whistle and information booklet.  

(Picture - Getty Images: open water swimming has soared in popularity in recent years)

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