New national water safety programme “SwimSafer” introduced
By Sharon See | Posted: 18 March 2010 1311 hrs

SINGAPORE : A new water safety programme, SwimSafer, will be rolled out at public swimming pools from July this year to teach water survival skills and increase water safety.

It is not enough to know to swim. Swimmers, especially children, need to know about water safety and what they should do when they run into difficulty in the water.

Thus, the new programme hopes to teach water survival skills and drowning prevention techniques.

Statistics from the Singapore Life Saving Society show that more than 60 per cent of drowning incidents between 2005 and 2008 in Singapore happened in seas, rivers, reservoirs and beaches.

There are about 30 to 40 drowning cases each year.

Teo Ho Pin, chairman, National Water Safety Council, said: “Every drowning case is one too many. So what we hope to do is that we hope to enhance the water safety knowledge among Singaporeans, and also to impart the necessary skills so that they can increase their chances of survival in different water situations.”

SwimSafer is the result of a review of existing water safety programmes.

It combines the best of the Learn-To-Swim Programme and National Survival Swimming Award.

It has six stages which prepare students to react appropriately when in sudden and adverse situations. These will be taught and tested in a swimming pool setting.

Swimmers will also get more attention from their instructors.

Dr Teo said: “…by reducing the instructor to pupil ratio by 1:20 to 1:10, we will first be able to enhance the safety of the participants attending the programme.”

The Singapore Sports Council (SSC) will train all instructors at SSC’s 24 swimming complexes to get them certified in time for the programme in July.