Members of the public who have no knowledge of how to swim will be receiving swimming lessons compliments of the National Conservation Commission which will be hosting Operation S.O.S (Save Our Selves).
The programme which will accommodate 100 persons, 10 years and over including 20 Barbados Fire Service Cadets, will run from July 16- August 29 at Brownes Beach.
General Manager of the National Conservation Commission Keith Neblett said Barbadians should know how to swim since we live on an island.
“You should know how to swim all throughout the year. We are surrounded by water and we need to be our brother’s keeper when we come to the beach,” Neblett said, admitting that a vast majority of Barbadians are unable to swim and cannot afford to pay for swimming lessons.
“There are a lot of swimming programmes at schools and some can afford to pay for their kids and teenagers to learn to swim. [But] there [are many] who are unable to do that and from the NCC [perspective] we are responsible for the safety of persons on the beaches. We found it best that we institute this programme and it has worked well,” Neblett said, adding that the persons who attended the workshop held this morning will learn about drowning, prevention and the do’s and don’ts of water safety.
“[They will] understand the currents and [how to ] interpret the flags, the beach signage and those things that we take for granted when we come on the beaches,” he said. With primary and secondary children now on summer break, the NCC General Manager said teaching them how to swim was tantamount to ensuring their safety during the summer period.
“We know particularly during the summer we have a lot of children on the beach; at least this summer we can teach them so that next year they can be a lot safer. We also want [them] to share what they’ve learned today with some of their friends at school,” Neblett said. He also suggested that the elderly folk who were present could encourage some of their retired friends to join the programme.
The members who attended the workshop were instructed in drills and taught how to float in the water by trained lifeguards from the National Conservation Commission.