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The Local reports: During the heatwave, the police reported fatal swimming accidents almost daily, with 15 children under the age of 15, and 40 young people, between the ages of 16 and 24, among the victims.

The German Lifeguard Association (DLRG) – which stations 40,000 volunteer lifeguards on Germany’s beaches – has attributed the cause of deaths to a lack of swimming lessons at primary schools and the reluctance of parents to encourage their children to pass the swimming test for the bronze badge.

Refugees are at a particular risk in water, according to the DLRG, because some of them did not receive formal swimming training in their country of origin.

German lifeguards have also connected the increasing number of child drownings this summer to neglectful parents, distracted by their mobile phones rather than keeping an eye on their child’s safety, the Guardian reported.

DSV Education Officer Axel Dietrich stated that teaching children about proper swimming technique is not enough.

“People drowned this summer because they weren’t aware of the water temperatures and currents…or because they got a cramp in their leg in the middle of the lake and didn’t know what to do,” Dietrich said.

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The Independent reports: Ross Edgley, 32, has not set foot on land since he left Kent on 1 June on his 2000-mile challenge. On Tuesday he broke Benoit Lecomte’s record of 73 days spent swimming across the Atlantic ocean in 1998, his team said.

He swims for two six hour stretches a day when the tide changes and rests for the remainder of the time on his support boat.

However he estimates he still has another 60 days of swimming to go before he reaches Margate to complete the challenge. More…

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Leicester’s De Montfort University reports: The world’s fastest-growing aquatic weed has effectively removed toxins from a polluted river in the UK – a finding which has the potential to revolutionise environmental clean-ups.

The plant’s roots were able to absorb metals and pollutants such as copper, zinc, arsenic, lead and cadmium. In some cases, the plant completely removed all traces of the metal within three weeks.

The trial was carried out at Nant-Y-Fendrod, a tributary of the River Tawe near Swansea, which was a focal point of global copper production in the 19th and 20th centuries. Prof Haris said some estimates were that some seven million tonnes of copper and zinc smelting waste was abandoned on the valley floor there.

Despite efforts to remediate the land, it still contains heavy metals, and fails to meet EU water quality standards.

Prof Haris’ PhD student Jonathan Jones, a senior environment officer at Natural Resource Wales (NRW), carried out the proof of concept study by growing the water hyacinth in river water to assess metal removal efficiency; in the laboratory, in the stream itself and along the riverbank.

Swim Safe Lessons St Ives

Pirate FM News reports: Children are being urged to ‘Swim Safe’ in St Ives this summer.

Sessions are underway as part of the national programme that teaches kids outdoor swimming and water safety. The lessons are open to 7-14 year old’s over the summer holidays. The aim is to make sure children know what to do if they do get into trouble in open water. Watch the video…

Comment: Training children to Swim Safe in open water is the first step in reintroducing safe swimming and preventing needless drowning in England. The next step is to establish safe bathing places on river and lakesides, so that these swim safe skills can be reinforced.

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The Mirror Reports: Parents whose children drowned unite in grief to spare heartbreak for other families.

As the summer heatwave ­continues to lure youngsters into rivers, lakes, reservoirs and the sea, they are pleading for action.

“Sadly, open water is a magnet for ­people during the summer. People see it as somewhere they can cool off. But they don’t see the danger.”

Comment: Notice that learning to swim is at the bottom of this list of safety measures below! Uniquely our culture has encouraged pool swimming and vigorously discouraged open water swimming for decades. On a hot sunny day it is natural for youngsters to seek out open water fun. Sadly poor swimming ability does not stifle confidence or bravado. See: From Lifesaving Education to none at all!

RLSS – Tips to swim safe

The Royal Life Saving Society UK gives 12 tips to reduce the risks of swimming in open waters.

■ Always look for warning and guidance signs.

■ Swim parallel with the shore, not away from it.

Avoid drifting in the currents.

■ Do not enter fast- flowing water.

■ Be aware of underwater hazards.

■ Get out of the water as soon as you start to feel cold.

■ Never enter the water after consuming alcohol.

■ Only enter the water in areas with adequate supervision and rescue cover.

■ Always take someone with you when you go into or near water. If something goes wrong they will be able to get help.

■ If someone is in difficulty in the water shout reassurance to them and shout for help and phone the emergency services – call 999 or 112.

■ Without endangering yourself, see if you can reach out to them with a stick, pole or item of clothing – lie down to ensure you stay secure. Or throw something buoyant such as a ring buoy or anything that will float.

■ Always let someone know where you’re going – take your mobile phone.

■ Learn swimming and life-saving skills.

 

Culture clash! Click the image below and see for yourself the contrast between British and Swiss culture when it comes to outdoor swimming.

Wild Swimming Gunton Switzerland

Swim Safe for Children in open water

The Manchester Evening News reports: Kids can once again join in FREE open water swim safety sessions at Salford Quays this summer.

Around 1,000 children benefited from the classes last summer and this year even more spaces are available.

There’ll be 1,400 free one-hour sessions up for grabs for kids aged seven to 14 – including families, friends and school groups.

And each child that takes part gets a T-shirt, a cap and a keyring to take home too.

It’s all part of Salford Community Leisure’s Swim Safe campaign and classes are held at the Helly Hansen Watersports Centre in Salford Quays between July 30 and August 31. More…

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