World’s Largest Swimming Event to take place 20th June

WLSLHoping to set a 5th Guinness World record, the world’s top water safety and training organisations, including our founding partners the STA and RLSS, are joining forces to present The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™ (WLSL), Friday, 20th June, 2014. The event is all in aid of building awareness around the vital importance of teaching children to swim to help prevent drowning.

On 20th June, waterparks, pools and other aquatic facilities around the globe will host local WLSL lessons simultaneously at 11am Eastern Standard Time (3pm GMT) in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record.

As we all understand swimming is a life-saving skill for children. It is a vital tool to prevent drowning, the second leading cause of unintended, injury-related death for children ages 1-14, which is why we strongly feel it’s important for swimming teachers to hold industry approved qualifications and to be committed to ongoing professional development.

The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™ has been created to serve as a platform to help local aquatic facilities and the many different water-safety and drowning prevention organisations work together to tell this important story on a local and national level.

Our partners STA and RLSS are supporting this year’s event and we highly encourage our members to join in the effort by registering as an official WLSL Host Location. For more information, including a marketing pack and details on how to register your venue is available at

The event also coincides with the start of the RLSS’s annual Drowning Prevention Week, taking place on 21st June. The events going on throughout the week aim to raise awareness about the importance of swimming as a life-long skill, promoting water safety messages and help reduce incidents of drowning.

If you’re holding an event for The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson then we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us via our Facebook page or email

Steve Parry introduces RAPs

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What a busy few months it’s been here it at RAPs HQ!

First of all we’d like to start off by saying a big thank you to all for joining the Register. Our progress would not be possible without your support!

Last month we had our official launch, hosted by Olympic medallist Steve Parry. Which took place at the Greenwich Leisure Ltd owned Oasis Sports Centre swimming pool. The launch was attended by both aquatic industry leaders and sport stars alike.

The event also included a Q&A panel session which saw David Sparkes OBE (ASA), Roger Millward (STA), Tara Dillon (IQL, the awarding arm of the RLSS) take questions from the floor, where key aquatic issues were addressed.

Here’s what Steve Parry had to say about the Register:

“The Register of Aquatic Professionals will go a long way to strengthen the credibility of the aquatic industry. We can be assured that those on this Register are fully qualified and hold the latest, relevant qualifications.”  

Steve continued:

“Ensuring there is quality and professionalism throughout this industry is a must, and I am delighted that the Register of Aquatic Professionals is actively addressing this major issue. Employers can now easily indentify the best qualified staff and can rest easy in the knowledge that those working in this industry are up to the task”.

Stuart Wilson, Sector Lead for RAPs, added:

“The launch event was a fantastic success and RAPs will give the guidance and confidence to parents that their chosen swimming instructors meet the relevant industry standards. Looking for private instructors can seem like a minefield at times but the process can be made easier by checking RAPs and seeking out accredited professionals.” 

Below is a short film of the launch day including interviews with our partners ASA, RLSS and STA .

Half of Those who Drown Do Know How to Swim

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Drowning is now the third most common cause of accidental death of children in this country and it reaches its highest rate during school and bank holidays. The National Water Safety Forum reveals that 407 people died from accidental drowning in 2011.

Most drownings are avoidable. Of course ensuring all children and adults can swim would make them less likely to drown but what is worrying is that more than half of people who drown know how to swim. Knowing how to swim is the start, but understanding safety and what to do in particular situations is just as important.

Teaching people to swim

It is vitally important that people are taught to swim when they are young. Recent statistics show that 51% of children aged seven to eleven cannot swim 25 metres unaided, according to a report by the ASA and Kelloggs; ‘Learning the lesson: The future of school swimming’.

Learning to swim is an essential life skill, which should be learnt as early as possible in life. Adults who didn’t learn as children are unlikely to learn later on in life. Nearly half of people who died by drowning did not intend to be in the water in the first place. This can cause huge problems for people who can’t swim if they are faced with water unintentionally. Walking and running were amongst the most common activities that consequently resulted in drowning.

Teaching swimmers how to be safe in water

While it’s important for people to learn to swim it is also important to teach them to be safe in water. Even accomplished swimmers can get into trouble in strong currents and wild seas. The most common place to drown in 2010 was in a river (25%), followed by the sea (17%) and a surprisingly high number who were actually on the shore or a beach (15%).

It is also important when coaching children that you have contact with parents or schools about the progress of each child. A lot of parents don’t know the true level and ability of their child and are perhaps too confident in their swimming skills.  

The Drowning Prevention week is running from 22nd to 30th June, their website  has a lot of useful water safety tips.

As aquatic professionals we need to make sure that all swimmers know how to be safe in or near water.

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