Swim Safe teaches children how to stay safe when swimming outdoors, which is often more challenging than swimming in a pool.
The programme was created by the RNLI and Swim England, the national governing body for swimming in England.
The free, hour-long Swim Safe sessions are run by qualified swimming teachers and lifeguards, supported by a team of trained volunteers, covering both land-based safety and practical tuition in the water.
Wetsuits, swimming hats and a free goody bag with a t-shirt are all provided. Children must be able to swim at least 25 metres to take part.
Since Swim Safe started in 2013 with just one site in Bude, Cornwall, over 18,000 sessions have taken place across the country – last year over 7,000 children took part in England and Wales.
Now in its fifth year, the programme continues to grow and in 2017, Swim Safe sessions will take place at 20 sites across the UK and Ireland including beaches, lakes, reservoirs and other inland locations.
“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,” said Guy Botterill, Swim Safe project manager for the RNLI. “Thanks to Swim Safe, thousands of children will learn how to keep safe when swimming outdoors and know what to do if they get into trouble.”