RNLI teams up with Black Swimming Association to reduce drownings

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and the Black Swimming Association (BSA) have joined forces with the shared aim of reducing drownings.

RNLI/Justyn Smith
RNLI/Justyn Smith

The RNLI is backing the BSA’s new research programme, which aims to dispel some of the myths surrounding ethnically diverse communities and water safety.

According to Sport England, 95 per cent of black adults and 80 per cent of black children do not swim, while an estimated 532,000 children from ethnically diverse communities have missed out on swimming lessons due to the pandemic.

The BSA hopes the new research will provide a greater understanding of the behaviours and barriers facing people of African, Caribbean and Asian heritage preventing them from taking part in aquatics, as well as water safety knowledge around how to stay safe around water.

According to the Canal & River Trust, 20.5 per cent of people in England and Wales who live within 1km of water are from ethnically diverse backgrounds, which is above the national average of 14 per cent. Due to a disengagement in aquatics, and consequently little to no knowledge of water safety education, these groups are considered to be high risk when it comes to drowning.

“For the first time we will gain real insight into whether these barriers are cultural, faith-based, community influenced or based on individual circumstances,” said Danielle Obe, BSA chair and co-founder.  

“We hope, through a combination of the research and a community engagement programme, to affect real change in the aquatic sector.”

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