Learn to swim, prevent drowning
There are millions around the world and in Europe too, whose lives are in danger due to the complete lack of swimming skills. Though our continent is responsible less then 10 per cent of the total number of drowning cases in the world, still, according to the World Health Organisation, 27,000 people die every year in Europe because of drowning.
Yes, it’s 74 men, women but mainly children on each single day. More than three in every hour. When you finish reading this text in a couple of minutes, one more person, most possibly a child got in touch with water somewhere in Europe – and couldn’t survive that.
It’s time to step up.
LEN as the strongest and most successful continental governing body in aquatics has launched a new programme ‘Learn to swim, prevent drowning’. To gain the highest possible public attention, LEN President Paolo Barelli in coordination with the Danish Federation made the official kick-off during our highlighted event in 2017, the short-course swimming European Championships in Copenhagen.
In an ideal world we should say that we are here to save all 27 thousands lives per year – and maybe once we might reach something similar. But until then this programme targets a 20 per cent improvement in the European drowning statistics in the first five years.
To achieve that, all 52 Member Federations should join the European Blue Card Programme as well as introduce the LEN Standards in swimming education. This is to be connected with a campaign on the values of swimming which should lead to have more people in Europe swimming more effectively, more regularly and more safely.
In the framework of the programme, LEN has set standards for the youngest swimmers, while those aged 12 or above can earn a Swimmer’s Certificate. Also, there are minimum standards for facilities, teachers, supervisors, safety and safeguarding. Meeting those standards mean that more and more people can become eligible to obtain the European Blue Card, a kind of proof of swimming skills.
We ask all National Federations to accept those standards and make it available and preferably mandatory in their respective territories. Everyone can look for the details in the official Guide of the programme.
While we are aware that there are significant differences in the number of available facilities and qualified educators around Europe, still, we, LEN Family Members are responsible for making steps forward and implement this initiative.
It IS a human right to learn to swim! We should set an example and use our strength, knowledge and experience to make Europe an even better and safer place – and we might even rely on the support of the European Parliament, presided by Mr Antonio Taiani.
Just think of our beloved ones, the children. The younger a kid, the bigger is the danger he or she faces. According to the statistics, among children aged 5-14, drowning is the second leading cause of death.
Let them learn to swim.