British Triathlon and the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), the UK’s drowning prevention charity, have this week launched a key strategy to help drive the development of open water swimming. Participation in open water swimming is growing and both organisations ‘recognise the need to develop safe swim sites to ensure delivery of a positive open water swimming experience’.
SH?OUT is the new identity for the partnership to support the growth of open water swimming. The joint venture aims to help promote safety and enjoyment in open water swimming with five key strategies:
- Safe Venues – delivering a publicly recognised quality standard for open water swimming venues
- Quality Event – ensuring open water swimming events are delivered to approved standards
- Vibrant Community – providing a compelling offer to all open water swimming participants
- Inspiring Participation – developing a clear and supportive participation pathway, enabling more people to take part in open water swimming
- Industry guidance – proving market leading education, support and advice to the triathlon and lifesaving communities
RLSS UK’s Chief Executive, Di Steer, said “In recent years, open water swimming has been subject to rapid growth; and RLSS UK and British Triathlon recognise the need for improved advice and guidance coupled with dedicated services to support the continued success and safe growth of the sport.
“SH?OUT will ensure that open water swimming events and venues meet approved standards but will also help increase participation in the sport.”
Jack Buckner, Chief Executive of British Triathlon said “British Triathlon is really excited to be working with RLSS UK to develop open water swimming. This is a great opportunity to work across the sector to ensure safe access and venues for open water swimming as well as increasing participation opportunities.”
Jane Nickerson, Chief Executive of the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) said “We welcome the launch of this new strategy and look forward to working with RLSS UK and British Triathlon to promote safe open water swimming in our beautiful countryside. This will not only benefit the thousands of ASA Members who regularly swim outdoors during the year, but also the young people who learn about safe open water swimming through our annual Swim Safe programme.”
George Rawlinson, Chair of the National Water Safety Forum for the UK added, “It is encouraging to see partnership working in action, if we are to achieve the goal as laid out in the National Strategy for Drowning Prevention, to reduce accidental drowning fatalities in the UK by 50% by 2026, collaboration is essential. The work being undertaken as part of the SH?OUT initiative will help in our mission to ensure there is consistent guidance for the safe enjoyment and management of activities in, on and around water.”