Swim safety lessons introduced after boy drowned off coast
PUBLISHED: 08:37 19 December 2018 | UPDATED: 08:37 19 December 2018
A programme teaching children about the dangers of the sea will take place next summer after a boy drowned when he got into difficulties in the water.
Ben Quartermaine was only 15 when he died off the coast of Clacton, in north Essex, after swimming with his friend near the pier.
Ben and his friend ran into difficulties and Ben sadly drowned.
The incident led to the creation of the Tendring Water Safety Forum, bringing together Tendring District Council with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Essex Police and others.
Swim Safe sessions were used to teach children in Dovercourt last summer and Tendring council’s cabinet has decided to extend the scheme giving free lessons to youngsters in the summer of 2019.
Cabinet member Mick Skeels said: “I am delighted that we will be able to extend this successful initiative and help to teach around 2,000 of our youngsters how to stay safe on our beautiful coastline.
“I am also pleased at how well the Water Safety Forum is working, bringing together a range of partners all with something to add to the topic, and I look forward to seeing what other initiatives come from it.”
Swim Safe sessions will be held in Clacton, Walton and Dovercourt during the summer of 2019.
Each session will last one hour with young people learning about the differences between swimming in a pool and in the sea, what lifeguard safety flags mean and how to get help if it is needed.
They will then head to the water to do practical safety skills.
Graeme Richardson, a member of the Tendring Water Safety Forum and area lifesaving manager for the RNLI, was keen to emphasise how important the lessons could be.
He said: “The sea can be a very beautiful place, especially over the summer, but it is all too easy to forget just how dangerous it can also be.
“There are a number of different things to think about when on the beach or swimming in the sea such as tide times and wave patterns.
“These Swim Safe sessions are just one way in which we can remind our young people to stay safe and treat the sea with respect.”