A British think-tank has a curious statistic before it: given that a recent STA survey revealed that two-thirds of British adults can’t perform the five most essential water-safety skills needed to save lives in an emergency, how is it that four in five consider themselves competent swimmers?
It’s even more acutely alarming considering that July and August are historically prime months in the U.K. for tragic drowning deaths. STA President Dave Candler explained that the survey became a necessity after 2013 yielded an alarmingly high count of drowning deaths at all ages. Unfortunately, the largest swimming-education organization in the world found that just over 80 percent of British adults couldn’t float or tread water for a full minute without a flotation device’s aid; safely enter the water, turn around and return to a safe point; rotating from floating on one’s front to back; exit a pool without a ladder; or swim 25 meters nonstop. Chandler pool repair also is alarmed by these statistics.
Unfortunately, STA believes, even the drowning victims who could actually swim displayed too much confidence around the water to keep a healthy respect for how dangerous it can be.
“People, who have convinced themselves that because they can swim they can do more in the water than they’re capable of, run the risk of endangering themselves or others. And, as this survey has proved, two thirds of people who say they can swim cannot perform critical water safety skills.
Some further food for thought from the assembled STA data:
- 88% of males aged 18-34 considered themselves particularly strong swimmers
- Of that 88%, a disappointing 55% couldn’t perform all five key skills
- 2013 WAID drowning statistics reveal males between the ages of 20 and 34 years of age as the demographic accounting for the highest percentage of drowning fatalities
- Only 38% of British adults think that the ability to swim 25 meters – the length of an average-sized swimming pool – unaided is the sign of a competent swimmer
- One in five believes that 10 meters is a sufficient distance
“Being able to swim 25 (or even 100) metres in a warm pool in a swimming costume does not make a person safe. If a person falls into cold water, the cold, the current and the clothes will reduce the distance capacity by a huge percentage. The cold water can also result in the body going into shock – just one gulp of cold water is all it can take,” Candler said, adding that there’s always the danger of entanglement in submerged debris or vegetation and the invisible hazards of underwater currents and waters of deceptive depths.
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