Calls for ‘Swimming Licence’ to Reduce Drownings in France

The Connexion France reports: A recent survey suggests most drownings occur in natural environments, where swimmers find it harder to assess conditions. Meanwhile a mobile pool in a lorry is touring rural areas teaching people to swim.

The latest drowning survey for Santé Publique France has revealed the majority (96%) occurred in natural environments (such as the sea, a river, or a lake) or in private family pools.

Statistics for the summer season from June 1 to August 31 2021 showed that 1,119 drowning incidents were reported, 250 of which resulted in death.

Since 2006, school children have been taught to obtain their school swimming certificate (ASSN), in order to swim safely in supervised swimming baths.

But among those involved in drowning incidents, some did know how to swim.

For the 15-25 year old age group, 94.8% said they knew, as well as 64.7% of those aged over 65.

Children not prepared for the ‘real’ world

In the same way that learning to ride their bikes in the playground does not equip children to ride them on the road, it is feared that swimming lessons do not give children all the skills they need to cope outside of that environment.

Calls are now being made for the school swimming certificate to include provision for a ‘swimming licence’ to help swimmers adapt their skills to the swimming conditions.

Comment: In my City; Leicester children who learned to swim in the pool and passed the swimming test, were given vouchers to swim in the Bede House river bathing station as a reward. Chris Ayriss